mc_squared Posted February 16, 2010 Share Posted February 16, 2010 Killing with kindness: Indulgent grandparents 'overfeed' kids and make them fat, scientists warn By Jenny Hope Last updated at 12:20 AM on 16th February 2010 Comments (33) Add to My Stories Being given sweets and cakes by your grandparents is an age-old part of childhood. But a study has suggested gran and grandad are perhaps being a little too generous with the biscuit tin. Medical researchers claim that children looked after by their grandparents are more likely to become obese because they are being overfed. Indulgent: Doting grandparents are often guilty of overfeeding children in their care, making them more likely to be obese (picture posed by models) Experts believe the older generation are prone to indulging their grandchildren and giving in to their demands for fatty and calorific treats, which could put them at risk of health problems ranging from heart disease to diabetes. They found children who are regularly cared for by their grandparents are a third more likely to be overweight. Contrary to previous research, which said childhood obesity was connected to poverty and having an obese parent, the problem was worst in children from middle-class and affluent backgrounds, the study of 12,000 three-year-olds by University College London found. Professor Catherine Law, who led the study, said grandparents are often guilty of spoiling children with treats. They are also less likely to take part in physical activities with their grandchildren. Although a doting gran thinks food should be a reward for good behaviour, children looked after mainly at home or through regulated childcare fare better, said Professor Law. Children who went to nursery or had a childminder had no increased risk of weight problems. She added: 'We can only hypothesise about what might be causing this, but grandparents have the wherewithal to be more indulgent, to offer takeaways and for children to be inactive. 'We're not suggesting the care is deficient, they have a big role to play, but they may not know what children need to eat for a healthy diet.' Nearly a quarter of pre-school children in the UK are overweight or obese. The number of obese children has doubled in the last 20 years and it is estimated one in ten six-year-olds is obese. The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, used data from the Millennium Cohort Study, which looked at the health of children aged between nine months and three years old who were born between 2000 and 2001. The results showed that those looked after by their grandparents part-time had a 15 per cent higher risk of being overweight for their age compared with those solely looked after by their parents. Those who were cared for by their grandparents full-time had a 34 per cent increased risk of being overweight. Further analysis, which took into account the child's background, found the increased risk only affected children in better-off groups, such as where mothers had a professional job, a degree or lived with a partner. There was an increased risk of being overweight when friends or other relatives were involved in care, but only if it was full-time. Professor Law said U.S. research has made similar discoveries, adding: 'Some of the things that might help would be educating the population in general about healthy lifestyles but also things like avoiding food as a reward and suggestions for building activities into daily life.' The Government recently announced that grandparents would get National Insurance credits for caring for grandchildren under 13 for at last 20 hours a week from 2011. This initiative could provide an opportunity for giving advice on healthy eating and exercise to grandparents, the research team said. However, a Department of Health spokesman said: 'The latest figures show that child obesity levels are the lowest reported since 2001.' Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1251258/Indulgent-grandparents-overfeed-kids-make-fat-scientists-warn.html#ixzz0fgO5MnFa Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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