Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Rearing non-fat kids

There is hardly any scientific evidence that any parenting techniques are better than any others. Here is a report on a new study:
Parents have long been admonished to set a good example for their children, especially in establishing eating habits that foster good nutrition and a normal body weight. Now a team of scientists analyzing national data on youth development have found that parental influence on a child?s weight goes beyond the specifics of food. Also at work are overall child-rearing styles.

They found, for example, that authoritarian mothers who dictate how their children are to behave at every turn are most likely to have children who become overweight. And mothers who are overly permissive or neglectful are twice as likely to have overweight children as mothers whose child rearing is described as authoritative but not authoritarian.
Here is the abstract. It says that authoritative moms did better than authoritarian, permissive, and neglectful moms, as measured by first-graders having a high BMI. I haven't see the full paper and I don't know if there is much substance here or not. It may just be that families that score moderately by one measure tend to score moderately by another measure.

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