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  Life   Health  15 Jan 2017  Calling your kids ‘fat’ may make them gain weight: Study

Calling your kids ‘fat’ may make them gain weight: Study

PTI
Published : Jan 15, 2017, 4:54 am IST
Updated : Jan 15, 2017, 7:39 am IST

Robinson and Angelina Sutin from the Florida State University College of Medicine in the US examined data for 2,823 Australian families.

The research was published in the Psychological Science journal. (Representational Image)
 The research was published in the Psychological Science journal. (Representational Image)

London: Parents, take note! Telling your children that they are ‘overweight’ may make them gain weight as they grow up, warns a new research. The findings indicate that children whose parents identified them as being overweight perceived their own body size more negatively and were more likely to try to lose weight, factors that partly accounted for their weight gain.

“Though parents’ perception that their children are overweight has been presumed to be important to management of childhood obesity, studies have suggested the opposite; when a parent identifies a child as being overweight, that child is at an increased risk of weight gain,” said Eric Robinson from the University of Liverpool.

“We argue that the stigma attached to being an overweight child may explain why children whose parents view them as being overweight tend to have elevated weight gain during development,” he said.

Drawing from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, Mr Robinson and Angelina Sutin from the Florida State University College of Medicine in the US examined data for 2,823 Australian families. They measured the children’s height and weight when they began the study as 4- or 5-year-olds. At that time, parents reported if they thought their children were best described as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or very overweight.

Later, when they were 12 or 13 years old, the children used a series of images depicting bodies that increased in size to indicate which image most resembled their own body size. Children also reported if they had engaged in any behaviour to lose weight in the past 12 months. Researchers took height and weight measurements again when the kids were 14 or 15 years old.

The results indicated that parents’ perceptions were associated with children’s weight gain 10 years later: Those whose parents considered them to be overweight at 4 or 5 years of age tended to gain more weight by 14 or 15 years. The research was published in the Psychological Science journal.

Tags: weight gain, overweight, children
Location: United Kingdom, England, London