Is parental obesity harmful for kids?

  • Feb 04 , 2017

Have you found your child to be a little too slow with the fingers? Is his/her ability to solve problems or interact with others slow as well? Well, you will be surprised to know that the problem may not necessarily lie with the child, but with your obesity. Read on to know how.
In the earlier years, studies have considered the mother’s pre and post-pregnancy weight. However, recent studies have also used the father’s weight, which is said to have significant effect on the child’s development. Though the study has been conducted in the US, they are likely to have an influence on children all over the world. American citizens have faced significant problems with weight, with 1 in every 5 women being overweight or obese during pregnancy.

Developmental problems in India
Modern lifestyle has resulted in several parents as well as children eating outside at least 3-4 times a week. When weight increases among kids at a reasonably young age, they are likely to face issues with self-confidence and morale. Increasingly parents, due to their working as well as sedentary lifestyle, have started gorging on junk food at different times in the day. This is further accentuated when you do not take breakfast before leaving for work, resulting in them snacking throughout the day.
There is not much research available to clearly show the link between developmental delays and obesity. However, animal studies have resulted in some conclusive evidence, indicating that obesity during pregnancy is likely to cause an increase in inflammation, which impacts the fetal brain. In the years to come, if the link between developmental delays and parent obesity is confirmed, physicians will need to regularly check young children for early intervention delays and slow development.

Research on developmental skills
As opposed to normal mothers, children of obese mothers were found to fail the test by 70 per cent more on fine motor skills by the ages of 3. Children of obese fathers tend to fail on the personal-social domain by ages 3. Children with both parents obese were highly likely to fail problem solving sections in tests.

Take home message
So what lesson can parents learn here? Till now, they may have thought that having weight under control is suitable only for their own health and well-being, but now it has been shown that it impacts child development. Parents must be on suitable diet and lifestyle, and have a normal body weight always.
Maternal obesity leads to a number of health complications, as per findings. Neurodevelopmental problems like attention deficient hyperactivity disorders and autism are likely to be passed on to the children.

What if the parents are overweight?
It is well known that prevention is better than cure. But if parents are already obese, what to do next? There are a few things that such parents can do to reduce weight. Moderate or mild exercise, eliminate exposure to all kinds of smoke, eliminate exposure to chemicals in personal hygiene items and of course, follow a strict and healthy diet.