San Tan Valley Area Information

3 minutes reading time (516 words)

Obesity Linked to Poor Mother-Toddler Bond

Tots who have a poor relationship with their moms are more likely to be obese[1] by the time they turn 15, a new study shows.

So just how does a toddler[2]’s less-than-stellar relationship with mom affect risk for being obese as a teen?

The reasons are not fully understood, but study researchers suggest these toddlers, when coping with stress, may begin to use food as a source of comfort in place of mom at a very early age. The findings appear in the January 2012 issue of Pediatrics.[3]

One thing, however, is clear: Childhood obesity[4] rates in the U.S. are getting higher. As it stands, about 1 in 3 children in the U.S. are overweight or obese and this includes pre-schoolers. This suggests that whatever is causing the uptick starts pretty early.

Relationship With Mom May Play Role in Childhood Obesity

Researchers analyzed close to 1,000 toddlers' emotional bonds with their moms at 15 months, 2, and 3 years of age. They measured mom’s sensitivity during 15-minute videotaped play sessions. Maternal sensitivity refers to a mother’s ability to know what her child is feeling and respond with comfort, consistency, and warmth.

The researchers also looked for signs of “secure attachment” among toddlers. This means that an infant[5] or toddler sees mom as a safe home base.

Toddlers who had moms with low sensitivity to their needs and who overall had the poorest-quality relationship with their moms were twice as likely to be obese at age 15, the results show.

“This study provides evidence that paying attention to the quality of the relationship between parents and children could impact children’s weight[6] status,” says researcher Sarah E. Anderson, PhD. She is an epidemiologist at the Ohio State University College of Public Health in Columbus. The results “underscore the importance of early childhood for obesity prevention.”

Can Proper Parenting Prevent Child Obesity?

It’s possible that some changes in early parenting[7] style may help prevent obesity, says Laurie Miller Brotman, PhD. She is a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry[8] and the director of the Harris Obesity Prevention Effort at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.

“Good-quality parenting is important for many things, including physical health,” she says. “These findings, as well as the failure of the programs that try to teach kids about what to eat and tell them to exercise[9] more, suggest that the fundamentals of parenting can make a difference.”

These fundamentals include effective limit setting, discipline, and not using foods -- particularly fattening ones like ice cream -- as rewards.

Such parenting will help kids regulate their own emotions and develop coping strategies. “You don't have to use food to cope if you know what to do when you are stressed out,” Brotman tells WebMD.


  1. ^ obese (
  2. ^ toddler (
  3. ^ coping with stress (
  4. ^ Childhood obesity (
  5. ^ infant (
  6. ^ weight (
  7. ^ parenting (
  8. ^ psychiatry (
  9. ^ exercise (

Read more

For Gilbert family, adoption of Haitian boy become...
Depression Treatment: How to Tell It's Working


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Monday, 27 January 2020
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

1 Feb
Voyager, A Tribute to the Music of Journey
Date 02.01.2020 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
15 Feb
ABBAFAB: Tribute to ABBA
Date 02.15.2020 7:30 pm
14 Mar
Aretha: The Queen of Soul: Tribute
Date 03.14.2020 7:30 pm
29 Mar
High Tide: Beach Boys Tribute
Date 03.29.2020 2:00 pm
26 Apr
Date 04.26.2020 2:00 pm

Stay Informed!

Get the the latest news, events, business info and more sent directly to your inbox, for FREE, by subscribing to any or all of our newsletters!
santanvalley_logo_17.png is your #1 resource for anything in and around San Tan Valley, AZ.  Focusing on uniting and promoting all that San Tan Valley has to offer for our visitors and residents, provides you with local area information & events, local business information, travel ideas, news, traffic alerts, deals, and more!

© 2020, is owned & operated by MyBizNow LLC. All Rights Reserved. Material displayed is not to be used without written permission by representatives. You may not reproduce or communicate any of the content on this website, including articles, content, images and files downloadable from this website, without the written permission of representatives. Opinions and comments posted by viewers do not reflect the opinions of