THURSDAY, August 23 (HealthDay News/Dr. Tango) -- A U.S. study finds that parental stress or bullying by peers can make it even tougher for overweight or obese children to pick up healthy habits.
"If a parent is stressed, this mood may impact a child's symptoms of depression which then impacts the quality of life. The same happens with peer bullying. It impacts depression which then impacts quality of life. It seems to affect not just the emotional aspect of quality of life, but also their health status," lead author David Janicke, assistant professor of clinical and health psychology at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions in Gainesville, said in a prepared statement.
His team surveyed 96 overweight or obese children and their parents.
They found that children whose parents were struggling with stress or depression had more depressive symptoms and a lower overall quality of life. The same was true for children who reported having more problems with their peers.
"One of the pathways to poor quality of life seems to be childhood depression," Janicke noted. He said parental support is critical in helping children make healthy lifestyle choices.
Parents struggling with stress or depression may not have the energy to provide emotional support, plan healthy meals or organize exercise activities for their children, researchers said. Providing support for stressed parents may be an effective way of helping overweight and obese children, Janicke suggested.
Learning more about the factors that affect the well-being of overweight children could help improve methods of treating these children, he added.
This study was published in the journal Obesity.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases explains what parents can do to help overweight children .
SOURCE: University of Florida, news release, August 2007 © Copyright 2007, ScoutNews, LLC.
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