A recent study suggests fathers can play an important role in preventing their children from becoming obese.
Researchers found that when fathers increased their involvement in child care and playtime with their children ages 2 to 4, the kids had a lower risk of obesity. The association is significant because obese children are prone to become obese adults.
The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health and published in the journal Obesity, sheds new light on the influence parents can have on a child’s weight and health.
What do the result of this study tell you?
That when BOTH parents are involved in a young child’s caretaking responsibilities, the child is more likely to stay at a healthy weight.
Were you surprised by the findings?
Not at all. It’s logical to me to think that when both parents are giving attention to making general health and caretaking decisions about their child, the united front that is displayed helps the child feel more secure. They thrive and grow more appropriately, and overall behavior is better. Healthy attention from BOTH parents helps keep kids healthy, including keeping them at a healthy weight.
In your work, do you see evidence that involved fathers can play a role in preventing obesity?
Absolutely. We encourage all vital caregivers (moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and significant others) to play an active role in their participation in our clinic. It directly factors into whether success with the goal of a healthier lifestyle is likely.
Please explain other ways in which managing a child’s weight is a family affair?
We consistently see much better success with families in making permanent changes toward a healthier lifestyle when the ENTIRE household, whatever that looks like, makes the changes together.