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Parental Time Influences Children’s Nutritio

According to a study by researchers from Texas A&M University, carried out for several years, there is a new cause for obesity in children.//

Dr. Alex McIntosh, lead researcher. McIntosh is professor of sociology with a research appointment from Texas Agricultural Experiment Station said that the rate of obesity in children is influenced to a great deal by the amounts and quality of time parents spent with them.

"Parental Time, Role Strain and Children's Fat Intake and Obesity-Related Outcomes," the U.S. Department of Agriculture study, was published in June.

In general, researchers found the amount of time a mother spent with her child, her work stress and her income level had a larger impact in lowering the child's risk of obesity than the father's time, work stress and income, McIntosh said.

Furthermore, the more time a mother spends with the child, the less likely that child is to be obese; conversely, the more time a father spends with a child, the more likely the child will be obese, he said.

"The impacts were greater for 9- to 11-year-old children than for 13- to 15-year-old children," he added.

As a sociologist, McIntosh has long wondered how parents influence their children's nutritional habits, he said.

"The project has been in my head for well over 10 years," he said. "For a long time we thought that parents ought to influence what their kids eat, but we were not sure how that worked."

And that's what the Texas A&M researchers set out to find, he said. "The epidemic of obesity is spreading across the United States and across the world," said Dr. Karen Kubena, one of the researchers. She is a professor of nutrition and food science and associate dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

"Of concern is the fact that the prevalence is increasing at younger and younger ages. Factors related to development and perpetuation of obesity need to
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