UNC Study: Parental Habits That Can Cause Child Obesity Common Across Racial Lines
If you often encourage an infant to finish a big bottle of formula, or expose your child to television too early, you could be setting the stage for childhood obesity.
A new pediatrics study by UNC found that these behaviors are all-too-common among parents in the U.S., regardless of racial or ethnic identity.
The survey of 863 low-income parents took place at UNC, New York University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Miami.
Fifty percent of the parents in the study were Hispanic; 27 percent were black, and 18 percent were white.
UNC Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Asheley C. Skinner, PhD, is a co-author of the study.
“When we have discussions with parents about a variety of these behaviors, we need to think about, sort of, the cultural norms for that particular family,” says Skinner. “But certainly, what’s more striking in this particular paper is the high prevalence of a lot of these behaviors in all parents.”
One finding of the study was a tendency, especially high among black parents in the study, to put children to bed with a bottle.
Hispanic parents surveyed were more likely to encourage babies to finish feeding when they’re given a bottle
“Overfeeding with a bottle is one of the things we definitely know seems to be related to obesity. It affects how well children can tell whether or not they’re full.”
One finding that really jumps out is that 90 percent of the infants had been exposed by parents to TV, with 50 percent watching actively.
“We’re talking about two-month-old children. And half of parents say that they have put their child in front of the television, specifically for that child to watch TV.”
The UNC study will be published in the April 2014 issue of the Pediatrics journal.