Parent-toddler relationship a factor.

Position:Childhood Obesity - Brief article

Toddlers who do not have a secure emotional relationship with their parents--particularly their mothers--could be at increased risk for obesity, according to research from Ohio State University, Columbus. Its study posits that children at age 24 months who show insecure attachment patterns have at least 30% higher odds for obesity by age four-and-a-half.

Psychologists describe securely attached children as those who rely on their parents as a "safe haven," which allows them to explore their environments freely, adapt easily to new people, and be comforted in stressful situations. Toddlers who are insecurely attached tend to have experienced negative or unpredictable parenting, and may respond to stress with extreme anger, fear, or anxiety, or avoid or refuse interactions with others.

The findings suggest that overlapping regulatory areas of the brain that govern emotional and stress responses, as well as control appetite and energy balance, could provide a stronger influence than previously...

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