Mother and child bond may affect teen obesity

The Los Angeles Times (12/27, Stein) “Booster Shots” blog reported, “The quality of a mother’s relationship with her toddler could affect that child’s weight in adolescence,” according to a study published in the January 2012 issue of the journal Pediatrics. The study, which included some 977 children, “was based on observing how mothers interacted with their children when they were 15, 24 and 36 months old, then following up with those kids when they turned 15 to check levels of obesity.” The researchers looked at “two aspects of the relationship: attachment security…and maternal sensitivity.”

“Teens are more likely to be obese if they had a poor emotional relationship with their mother when they were toddlers, according to a new study,” HealthDay (12/26, Preidt) reported. “The analysis showed that the children’s risk of obesity at age 15 was highest among those who had the lowest-quality emotional relationship with their mothers when they were toddlers, the Ohio State University researchers said.” The study found that “more than one-quarter of the toddlers who had the lowest-quality relationships with their mothers were obese as teens, compared with 13 percent of those who had closer bonds with their mothers in their early years.”

Medscape (12/27, Hitt) reported, “After adjusting for sex and birth weight, the risk for adolescent obesity was found to be 2.45 (95% confidence interval, 1.49 – 4.04) times higher in those with the worst relationship (score, ≥3) compared with those considered to have the highest-quality relationship (score, 0).” In addition, the researchers found that “compared with insecure attachment, low maternal sensitivity was more strongly associated with obesity.” Study “researchers suggest that maternal sensitivity could protect against obesity by ‘improving children’s ability to modulate their physiologic and behavioral responses to stress.'” WebMD (12/26, Mann) andReuters (12/28, Joelving) also covered the story.

Posted in In The News.