Over protective mums could make kids fat - study

Children aged 10 or 11 were found to have up to a 13 per cent higher risk of being overweight or obese if their mothers had above-average protectiveness.
Photo / 123RF
Children aged 10 or 11 were found to have up to a 13 per cent higher risk of being overweight or obese if their mothers had above-average protectiveness. Photo / 123RF

Overly protective mothers could be contributing to their children being overweight or obese, a new study shows.

This is because nervous mums are more likely to restrict the amount of time their children spent outdoors, says Kirsten Hancock of the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth.

Children aged 10 or 11 were found to have up to a 13 per cent higher risk of being overweight or obese if their mothers had above-average protectiveness, Ms Hancock said.

The study focused on maternal protectiveness and child obesity, and was based on data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, which followed about 4000 children aged 10 or 11.

A study based on the same data, released by the Australian Institute of Family Studies on this week showed children whose parents were concerned about neighbourhood safety spent about two hours a week less time playing outside than others of the same age.

Ms Hancock said parents needed to think about the consequences of having a too tight a reign on their children.

"It's perfectly normal for parents to feel protective towards their children," she said.

"But being over protective, usually defined as overly controlling, highly supervising or finding it difficult to spend time away from the child, can have implications for how kids view and navigate their environment."

- AAP

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