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Quality of parent-toddler relationship could affect risk for childhood obesity
Date:4/19/2011

on co-authored the paper with Robert Whitaker, professor of public health and pediatrics at Temple University. The research is published in a recent issue of the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Anderson and Whitaker analyzed data collected on children who were born in the United States in 2001. Thousands of children were assessed at age 24 months and evaluated again at 4 years for the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, a study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics to provide information about learning environments, health and development of young U.S. children. A total of 6,650 children were included in the analytical sample for this work.

During the assessment when the children were 24 months old, trained research staff spent about two hours observing and evaluating the child and mother in their home. They rated how closely 45 specific behaviors applied to the child. Among the behaviors they documented: whether the children sought and enjoyed being hugged by their mothers, and whether crying children could be comforted by contact with their mothers.

From these evaluations, the observers gave each child an attachment security score. For the study, Anderson and Whitaker classified children in the lowest quartile of scores as insecurely attached.

Anderson and Whitaker also calculated the body mass index (BMI) of the children at age 4 using the measured heights and weights of the children. BMI measurements were converted into percentiles for age and sex based on growth charts developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For this study, children were considered obese if their BMI scores were at or above the 95th percentile on those charts.

The researchers examined other issues from the same national data set that might also explain the increased risk for obesity, including how responsive the mothers were to their children and how engaged the ch
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Contact: Sarah Anderson
sanderson@cph.osu.edu
614-293-4702
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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