I don't agree with this article. I was never even close to obese and if I didn't eat my veggies growing up, I received a nice backhand from across the table


Strict Parenting Raises Risk Of Child Obesity
Article Date: 06 Jun 2006 - 10:00am (PDT)This Article


Children of strict parents run five times the risk of becoming fat than children whose parents have a more diplomatic style, says a new study. The study looked at four parenting styles - two of which are called Authoritarian and Authoritative.

Authoritarian parents lay down the rules and the child has to obey. Authoritative parents bear in mind a child's thoughts and opinions when setting and applying rules.

Dr. Kyung Rhee, Research Fellow at Boston University School of Medicine, the lead author of the study, found that children of authoritarian parents were five times as likely to be overweight than children of authoritative parents.

You can read about this study in the journal Pediatrics

Dr. Rhee said there are four parenting styles:

1 - Authoritarian
Strict. The child's views don't matter much.

2 - Authoritative
Applies rules, but the child's views are taken into account.

3 - Permissive
Parents practise very little discipline, but are involved emotionally with the child.

4 - Neglectful
No discipline and no emotional involvement.

In this study, Rhee and team analyzed 872 children, of which 11% were overweight. The data was collected from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.

Here are some comparisons of incidence of overweight when compared to children of Authoritative parents:

-- Children of Authoritarian Parents
5 times higher risk of being overweight

-- Children of Permissive Parents
2 times the risk of being overweight

-- Neglectful Parents
2 times the risk of being overweight

The researchers were not surprised with the results. Previous studies had indicated that children of Authoritative parents did better academically, had better self-control, were less likely to have depressive symptoms, and were less risk-taking as teenagers - when compared to children of the three other types of parents.

The researchers are not sure why there is a difference. Perhaps, said Rhee, Authoritative parents provide the child with both the space and the guidance to develop his/her own self-regulatory abilities. She suggested that perhaps, while an authoritarian parent will just order the child to finish of his/her vegetable, an authoritative parent might offer two or three and give the child some choice.

The child of an authoritarian parent may not be listening to his/her body because all decisions are made by the parent. Being less in tune with your body makes it more difficult to decide exactly how full you are.

While a child of authoritarian parents has no influence over the boundaries, children of authoritative ones do - the boundaries are there, but to a certain extent they are more negotiable, and perhaps they were set with some of the children's input.