Obesity in teen years may be blamed on  mother/child relationships
December 26th, 2011
12:16 AM ET

Obesity in teen years may be blamed on mother/child relationships

The mother-child relationship has always carried a lot of weight.  Now researchers say some obese teens might be in essence, carrying the weight of their relationship with their mothers when they were younger.

A new study published in this week's edition of Pediatrics finds the type of relationship a mother has with her young child could affect that little one's chances of becoming obese as a teen.

Researchers looked at data of 977 children from around the United States, which documents relationship characteristics between mothers and their toddlers. The less of an emotional bond a mother had with her child, the higher the risk that the child would become obese by the age of 15.

When analyzing the data, investigators found 241 children or more than one-quarter of all toddlers who had poor emotional relationships with their mothers were obese as teens, compared to adolescents who were close to their moms at 13 percent.

The researchers at Ohio State University found that this new study actually supports previous research by the group, which shows toddlers who did not have a secure emotional relationship with their parents had an increased risk of becoming obese by the age of 4½.  Knowing both of these points, researchers say both studies suggest the areas of the brain that control emotions and stress, along with appetite and energy balance, could be working together to influence the likelihood that a child will be obese.

Investigators did say instead of just blaming the mother for her child's obesity, efforts should be made to improve strategies to improve mother-child relationships earlier in a youngster's life, and not just focus on the child's eating habits or exercise.

"It is possible that childhood obesity could be influenced by interventions that try to improve the emotional bonds between mothers and children rather than focusing only on children's food intake and activity," said Sarah Anderson, assistant professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.

Anderson also says, "the sensitivity a mother displays in interacting with her child may be influenced by factors she can't necessarily control. Society-wise, we need to think about how we can support better-quality maternal-child relationships because that could have an impact on child health."

« Previous entry
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. Anna

    All Weight gain is causes by stubborn insulin from the Goverments food chemicals

    1. If you cannot lose weight it is caused by stubborn insulin from food chemicals (regardless of if you have diabetes)
    2. Diets like Weight Watchers do not reverse stubborn insulin.
    3. How to lose weight...When researchers used a Specialized diabetes diet in Holland people reverse stubborn insulin and lost weight naturally. This information is hidden by the drug companies

    just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

    December 26, 2011 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andrew

      My God you lack critical thinking skills. Yes, the governement and drug companies are conspiring to keep all this a secret, and that's why we have obesity. For 99% of obese people, it's like it is for overweight people: calories in vs. calories expended.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
    • t3chsupport

      Yes, it's a huge secret, no one knows about it. It's called eating less, eating less processed crap when you do eat, and moving more. Stop the presses!

      December 26, 2011 at 10:33 | Report abuse |
    • rjo3491

      ...Anna it all comes down to eating too much and moving too little. A balanced diet and 30-60 minutes of exercise most days and the vast majority would have no weight issues. Video games, social networking and nighttime snacking are what's killing us.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:44 | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Obesity is the reuslt of insulin resistance, insulin resistance is caused be long term consumption of sugars and carbohydrates. If you don't have insulin resistance you can eat as much protein and fat as you want without weight gain, just look at lions and other carnivores in nature. Curing obesity is not about caloires or exercise it's about reversing years of damage to your insulin resistance and leptin respsonse. Just eat more meat and veggeis and cut out grain and sugar. It's that simple.

      December 26, 2011 at 14:10 | Report abuse |
    • Bravo

      Hmmm, couple of other notes. Lions and tigers don't eat McDonalds and tend to stay away from fried fast foods in general. Also, because they tend to live in the sticks, where is it hard to get a car to go to the local mart, they find themselves having to walk long distances for a snack. I am sure that if you gave them a TV remote and put a Mickey D's on the corner, they wouldn't be as in shape as they are now.

      December 26, 2011 at 14:27 | Report abuse |
    • ComSenseWiz

      Heifers tend to produce more heifers. You know, the "chip off the ol block" theory. Our kids are slim & trim notwithstanding an above average weight mother because we were keen to providing quality food consistently and our kids were active athletically. Fast food was only allowed rarely. Bad parenting has adverse consequences. You reap what you sow.

      December 26, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
    • augustghost

      I know that the human body cannot break down a number of chemicals and preservatives found in todays foods...THAT is fact. and who knows, as crooked as this government is, think about it...more people get diabetes...more people take insulin..hmmm pharmaceutical companies do a dance because of enormous profits which they then line the politicians pockets with.....

      December 26, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
    • inachu

      The easy way to get fat:
      Listen to all those guilt trips spoken by your parents: Just think of those starving children in Ethiopia!
      Your plate as a small child has food on it that is 3 times bigger than your stomach.

      Then the only thing parents have to offer why their kid is fat is: Oh but I love my child!.... ehhh yeah riiiiight.

      December 26, 2011 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
    • sciguy

      Sorry Anna, weight gain is a complex set of chemistry not easily delineated by things like insulin and calories. But yes, they can be part of it. Poor food choices, hormone-mimicking compounds in the environment, (like cans, drinking water, lawn fertilizers, farm chemicals etc..), as well as the empty nutrition in the "good" foods we eat causing an "internal" hunger to consume more & more. Soooo complex; if it was as simple as insulin there would be pills for that.

      December 26, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
    • enoch100

      nom nom nom nom nom

      December 26, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      Anna – while you were typing this, did you hear "Pop! Goes the Weasel!" playing over and over in your head? Also, were your eyes spinning in circles in the same or opposite directions?

      December 26, 2011 at 17:24 | Report abuse |
    • Pattysboi

      Weight Watchers is NOT a diet, but a program, a very good one, too. You might want to check it out, and learn the facts.

      December 26, 2011 at 17:46 | Report abuse |
    • Andreea

      Like you see everybody knows what kind of products we find on the market.I consider mother in our days to take care of theirs children, to protect them against OBESITY.It is their fault., mainly.A kid is eating what mother is giving and has on the fridge.Did you ever see what kind a food these mothers have for theirs obese children, did you ever observed people at All you can eat restaurants with obese children.Do you know how they eat and how much they eat and mothers elephants dont care.?These mothers dont cook, in theirs kitchens just boxes of pizza, gallons of ice cream and junk food.

      December 26, 2011 at 17:50 | Report abuse |
    • DeFace

      Government's food chemicals? And what are those exactly??

      December 26, 2011 at 18:00 | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      obesity is an epidemic that will not go away until incompetence is solved. Stop making excuses and be aware of what your putting in your body.

      December 26, 2011 at 18:00 | Report abuse |
    • DeFace

      Parents sit their kids in front of a tv all day and feed them sugary treats to keep them quiet.... this is what is going on.

      December 26, 2011 at 18:02 | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Maybe their just fattening then up to supply the third world countries

      December 26, 2011 at 18:07 | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    Everything that we do at any moment in our lives is a reaction to current conditions in the context of our past experiences, including our genetic heritage. Anything that happens to a child in it's early years has an effect on what that child will do in years to come. How could that not be true? This is stating the obvious, yet, there will be posters who deny this.

    When you consider the brain you see that early life experiences lay the foundation for all future behavior. The neurons that are used early are the ones that survive (we are born with many neurons that quickly die). Think of those surviving neurons as a convoy of bulldozers flattening a place for future roads. The roads created early become the super highways in which all future traffic flows. Road put down in older years are more like single lane back streets – it takes a lot more time to create a super highway on the back streets.

    Anyway, the moral of the story is be good to your kids. Don't beat them. Don't stress them out. Don't feed them junk food. Don't let them watch tv. Make sure they get a good start in life.

    December 26, 2011 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Michelle

    A good indicator of potential teen obesity is the parents' weight. Eating habits are learned by example and learned at home. If the parents are overweight, especially if BOTH parents are overweight or obese, chances are good that the child will be overweight as well. There – no studies involved.

    December 26, 2011 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bravo

      But then you have the other half of the coin and says If both parents are overweight, the chances of the child being able to acquire any food, aside from what falls to the floor, from the parents is very small, thus promoting skinny children.

      December 26, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
    • biochemist23

      I agree, you never see a fat child with skinny parents!!!!!

      December 26, 2011 at 15:59 | Report abuse |
    • J R Brown

      Stop it...you can't make common sense statements in America...it's unAmerican.
      Don't you know that nothing is the parents fault? There are no bad parents...only bad children. /s

      December 26, 2011 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
  4. Jo

    I am one of those people you all love to hate. I weigh 300 lbs. That's down from 486 so I am trying and I do take personal responsibility for my condition. My mom couldn't face the fact that I would leave home one day. Who would take care of her?? She wanted to make sure no one would want me. I was too young to see the agenda. All I had to do was announce I as on a diet and she would start cooking. Yep, the article is right on, but it will be ignored. No one really wants fat people to loose weight. Who would they blame for high medical costs? who would all the diet product companies market to?

    December 26, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michelle

      @ Jo – the important thing is that you're now on a road to good health. And now is also the time to stop playing the blame game, take responsibility for your actions, lose the bitterness, and let the world spin on.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:21 | Report abuse |
    • terry

      Keep at it !!!! Forget what Mom did or didn't do, it's your life to control now. Good luck and best wishes.

      December 26, 2011 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      False – none of us want fat people to stay fat (except maybe the big pharmaceutical companies). I don't want everyone to look like supermodels either, because physical appearance isn't the point. I want everyone (and I DO mean everyone) to be as healthy as they possibly can. Some people will be fairly healthy with a few more pounds, but NOBODY is at their peak of health when they're obese.

      What is health? It's a state of physical capability. Can you move easily? Can you run, climb stairs, bend over to pick up something from the floor, and get around easily? Can you enjoy ALL the activities you set your mind to? When something sounds like fun, can you make the decision to do it without worrying about being too fat, too slow, too out-of-shape, and having too little stamina to do it?

      GOOD FOR YOU that you're starting to lose the weight. I work out regularly, and nothing makes me happier than to see people at the gym who AREN'T in shape. It means they're on the road to overcoming their health problems and making a better life for themselves. Again, it's not about looks – it's about capability and how good you feel. I wish you all the success in the world, and I hope other people follow your example.

      Remember – NEVER STOP MOVING!

      December 26, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
    • R A Williams

      Congratulations on your weight loss and best of luck for the future.

      It stinks that one of the people who should have been nurturing and strengthening you decided to sabotage you instead. But not all humans you meet are like that. Most of us would rather that you be strong, capable, happy, and healthy. If only there were a magic way to make that happen... but if there is, nobody has found it yet.

      I for one don't want you, or anyone else in your situation, to stay fat. More healthy people means more folks exercising, having fun, and hanging out... in other words, more people for me to have fun with and play sports with.

      From time to time you might have friends, co-workers, or family members who really do want you to be overweight. But it's generally not about you, it's about them. If you were to tiptoe away, they would start up their obesogenic drama on the next person who crossed your path. Please understand that people like that are severely messed up. But luckily they are easily replaced. Let them have their drama with somebody else. You will be happier hanging out with people who are invested in your excellence, not in your weakness.

      December 26, 2011 at 18:01 | Report abuse |
  5. Louise

    This is so bogus. I don't belileve a word of it. And it infuriates me that they spend money to come up with this. Every study blames every condition on mothers. As a mother, I really resent that. My well-loved teens were never fat, but if they were, I'd look at the fat-gene genetics on my husband's side of the family as a possible cause.. Why teens are fat...junk food, genetics, and hormonal moodiness. Eating soothes our souls. Is it up to parents to provide wholesome food? Yes. Is it always the mother's fault teens eat junk food a get fat? No!

    December 26, 2011 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Louise: I agree with you that it is unfair to blame mothers. Women have enough pressure without being blamed for every problem with day's youth. However, this study has a point and the fact that your children are of normal weight supports that hypothesis. But the study should have also looked at the relationship with the father. My older brother is obese and he had a terrible relationship with our father.

      December 26, 2011 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
    • Bravo

      Totally the mothers fault. The infant starts learning bad eating habits in the womb. It has been scientifically proven that "Super Size Me" becomes ingrained in the fetus's brain at 4 months and they develop an addiction to big mac's and fries at 5 months. The father has no affect on the child during the pre-birth months and limited visibility to the child during the early years as spousal nagging keeps the father occupied with pointless endeavors. So it is safe to say that the mother is at complete fault here and the fall of our Nation, due to obesity, can be firmly blamed on fat women and their progeny.

      December 26, 2011 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
    • SeattleRain

      Read your own words, "My well-loved teens were never fat," is basically stating that you have a loving relationship with your children (and likely did when they where toddlers). The article is about emotional relationships. Yours was good and your teens are not fat. Sounds like you can't visualize (or emphasize) outside of your own reality to gain an understanding of those in an opposite situation. The article makes sense to me.

      December 26, 2011 at 14:51 | Report abuse |
    • LuckyLady

      Bravo, you have some very odd thoughts about family and relationships and women. Reads like you could use some helpful therapy to deal with your issues. When we help ourselves, we help society as a whole, so I encourage you to take that step.

      December 26, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
    • John

      I agree the study is bogus. Why? My older brother, myself, my sister in law, my wife, her mother... all have one thing in common, when each of us decided to LIMIT CALORIES, we all lost weight and you know what? We kept it off... as long as we limited calories. If someone eats like a pig (I've been there so I can say that in that I'm offending myself as much as anyone else), then expect to gain the weight of a pig. LIMIT YOUR CALORIES and you can lose weight and keep it down. I'm proof of that, multiple people I know are as well. Good luck, when you get to the point where you see this, their saying "your mother causes this because she didn't love you" will just be a laugh a minute... I gained 100 lbs while my mother was dead... and lost it while my mother was dead. Her being my mother didn't do anything... she was dead during the entire span of time.

      December 26, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
    • sciguy

      Soooooo Louise: "fat genes" on husband side; ok to blame...... mother/child relationship; not to blame, eh? Seems like alittle denying of responsibility to me but I could be all wrong: and you are perfectly right..... every time, no?

      December 26, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
  6. larry5

    The problem is people eating stuff instead of food. Food manufactures spend a lot of money and science on making money selling stuff for people to eat in place of food. And it works. Many of our modern health problems point to a diet made up of stuff. Stuff can excite the pallet and is cheap in the short run and expensive in the long run. The people that get fat and can't lose the weight can usually fix it by eating food instead of stuff. It's a difficult shift but food can do the trick.

    December 26, 2011 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • terry

      Amen !!!!

      December 26, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
    • Ray in Vegas

      That's a great way to put it! And very true!

      December 26, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
  7. doris

    I raised 25 foster children, some came to us a little overweight. It was an easy problem to fix. We didn't buy much snack food and the kids played outside instead of watching TV.

    December 26, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Lori

    Why does it seem that moms are blamed for everything?

    December 26, 2011 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kay

      It's an overgeneralization. What if people didn't even grow up with a mom? It's never pressure from peers and the media or the influence of the father for teenagers? Yeah right.

      December 26, 2011 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
    • t3chsupport

      Well, in the case of toddlers, the mothers are usually where the food comes from, which is where the calories come from. They aren't getting it from the television, or from their toys, or from the internet, it comes from their parents.

      December 26, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
    • it.scion

      In the end, it comes down to the primary caregiver being the one mostly responsible. In this country that is still the mother by a wide margin.

      December 26, 2011 at 17:39 | Report abuse |
  9. pulsars

    I don't know about the psychological impact a mother has on a child's eating habits, but I do know that when I see fat kids in the supermarket the mother is usually pushing a shopping cart loaded with cookies, lots of candy, bags of crunchy snacks, ice cream... etc... Unless mothers learn to tell their kids to "PUT THAT BACK!" and mean it, kids will continue to be fat.

    December 26, 2011 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. somehow

    Eat more whole foods (plant based ), less processed, no gluten in your foods, and you will lose weight naturally and keep it off.

    By the way, as a dad, why are the moms blamed for all of this? What about the dads?

    December 26, 2011 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sciguy

      "no gluten".....because we are all 100% Irish/Gaelic and all have Celiac Disease?????? The idiocy surrounding gluten is unbearable; learn some cell biology please. Its people like you that pander to all those hucksters and helps support a billion $$$ flim-flam industry duping people. Gluten is digestible by virtually 99.999% of the world's population: processed crap is not. Is that what you meant to say?

      December 26, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
  11. Phil

    Your showing a picture of 2 mexicans up there. The mexican women, they are usually fat and overweight.

    December 26, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TinMT

      Wow Phil, pretty amazing how adept you are at determining someone's cultural heritage by looking at a photo of them from the rear. Total FAIL!

      December 26, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
  12. anonymous

    Let's see... in today's society, kids would be less obese if their mothers got their bums off the couches and engaged their children in playtime (either at parks or outside). Instead, today's moms hang out inside, and feed their kids unhealthy foods, thinking that they're doing their kids a favor–you're not. Kids are fluffy because they're moms feed them crap.

    December 26, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bravo

      You don't get it. It isn't about the kids, it is about the mother, her comfort and her reality TV programs. Kids are simply an inconvenience,...little hobbits that run around, providing the occasional piece of entertainment, but for the most part a thorn in their side that has to occasionally be fed, preferably with something minimally nutritious and very cheap.

      December 26, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
  13. rose

    I know when my friend went back to work it was very stresful on her once appropriate weight toddler, now they eat more Mc donalds, play outside less because mom has to work. the kid misses mom and has gotten chubby. a real cry baby too, I might add. I can understand the basis in this article. we were lucky our moms " stayed home", we came home from school, went out to play, and a healthy home made dinner on tabke every night, we grew up in the best of times – 1970's. no technology, just bicycles!

    December 26, 2011 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Please

      Rose, your view of women seems to be stuck in the 1970s. You can get a loving bond between mother and child whether a mom works or stays home. In a way, all parents are working parents. No need to put anyone down for where they choose to do it. I'm incredibly close to both my parents and feel lucky my mom worked (she was a teacher). My dad ran his business from our house during my high school years and was there when we came home on the bus. Men can stay at home too. I think the fact that I'm skinny is from being encouraged to play outdoors as a child. People seem to spend less and less time doing that which is a real shame. Clearly, I enjoy the internet because I'm here, but there's a lot to be said for fresh air and sunshine. I think I'll go out right now, in fact. Have a great day, everybody, and a happy, healthy New Year.

      December 26, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
  14. TexMan

    The more logical cause is that when kids see nonstop eating by parents and are fed a steady diet of junk food and candy they get just as fat as those around them.

    How much money has to be spent to figure out a no brainer???

    December 26, 2011 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rose

      i agree, we are a society of fat people, I work in an emergency department. Most peoples problems are because they are too fat

      December 26, 2011 at 14:36 | Report abuse |
  15. Megan

    As a 23 year old woman who has lost a little over 100 pounds in the past three years, I can say that from my own experiences I do agree with what this article suggests. I have a terrible relationship with my mom... haven't spoken to her in three years now, as of last week. She's an unmedicated paranoid schizophrenic who I had little to no emotional bond with growing up. How could I have, when she was always lost in her own world? I was mostly unsupervised and left to eat whatever I could get my hands on – both during mealtimes (we never ate together as a family) and when snacking in between. My highest weight was 265 when I was 20. Now I'm down to 160.

    December 26, 2011 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LuckyLady

      How wonderful that you have been able to rise above the troubles of your upbringing. My good friend had a similar upbringing (mother with same diagnosis) and she has always struggled with her weight. I hope in time you are able to teach others what you have been able to learn. So valuable. Pay it forward if you can. Cheers to you!

      December 26, 2011 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
  16. Patricksday

    God forbid we can assign any blame to the value menus at Fast Food, McDonald's is very proud of the takeover of the world with Golden Arches everywhere. Frozen foods in the grocery packed full of sodium to impact our cardio vascular system, when will the People have a Lobby in DC???

    December 26, 2011 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • t3chsupport

      There is a very accessible weapon in the fight against fast food companies making your kids fat.
      It's called 'NO'. Learn it. Use it. Love it.

      December 26, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • it.scion

      My kids are 5 and 9 and both know that Mcdonalds makes you fat. We NEVER eat fast food and they never ask for it. Want to stop the McDonalds of the world? Teach your children to never eat there and the health issues that food causes and those places go out of business.

      December 26, 2011 at 17:56 | Report abuse |
  17. Mom of Teens

    That's funny...when I gain weight I've always liked to blame it on my KIDS!!

    December 26, 2011 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. forreal89

    I am sure they will take legal action against the government and big corporations. Never blame the parents.

    December 26, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Patricksday

      They would if the corporations didnt own Washington DC and the Supreme Court has even given life to Corporations, like they are flesh and blood if that isnt Evil at work what is?

      December 26, 2011 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
  19. Kevin

    Was does correlation always equate to causality with CNN contributors?

    December 26, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LuckyLady

      My thought exactly. How can you assign "blame" ie causation, when there are so many confounding variables? It does make for interesting comment sections, though 😉

      December 26, 2011 at 15:15 | Report abuse |
  20. h sutherland md

    Obesity starts during the first year when parents take pride in how fast their bqby in growing (getting fat).Over feeding was a problem that I noted when i pacticed as a pediatrician. Parents did not care for my pointing out this problem. Parents should be taught to follow the growth curve and not the weight. Very often "baby fast" is not lost at onset of puberty. Doctors should take more time instructing the requirements fo calories in their babies.

    December 26, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Paul

    Obesity is not about the stomach, is about the brain.
    Now, 30% of obesity in the US, what does that say about the culture in the US?

    Well. it's not that simple, .. crappy food is a lot less expensive than decent food, add to that the fact that there is money to make by having a large population of obese people who spend money to diet, in other words, there is more incentive to keep people fat than to actually change things to solve the problem. However in the end, if people had a brain and a smarter culture, or let's say, if they had a minimum of education, they probably would think more and therefore seek better food, so create a market for better food making it less expensive over time.
    Unfortunately US food culture is about instinct gratification rather than feeding culture and reward through a healthy life,
    Consequently the people in the US are doomed to die fat.

    December 26, 2011 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • catster12

      Nah. I bought 2 bags of baby carrots for $1.69. A bag of chips at the same store is $3.00. Can't blame it on cost.

      December 26, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
    • sciguy

      catster12: nope, sorry. I do primary analyses of foods including fresh fruits & vegetables. That bag of baby carrots have little real nutrition in them, especially when compared to carrots of 25 years ago, and contain more chemicals then the processor is obligated to list: like carboxy-methyl-cellulose for example; in virtually every bag of baby carrots; you see it listed on the label? No, food impact is wayyyy more complicated than chips versus fresh produce and the fresh stuff is getting harder to find of nutritional value every day.

      December 26, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      When you take the medical costs resulting from a poor diet into account, decent food is way cheaper than junk food.

      December 26, 2011 at 22:33 | Report abuse |
  22. Burbank

    Sounds like the more the Mother (and/or Father) uses electronic babysitters (aka emotional absence) the fatter the kids get. We already knew that. I sure hope we didn't have to pay tax money for PhD's to figure out the obvious once again.

    December 26, 2011 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. John

    Another candy manufacturer funded study? Ask them what the units for comfort are, there aren't any units other than opening someone's skull and measuring the dopamine released. They sell you on the idea of "comfort foods" to make up for the "lack of comfort that made you fat" which is.... the exact opposite of what happens. Those "comfort foods" are high calorie and they make people fat. Yes folks, not paying attention to what you eat, makes you fat. Not limiting your calories, makes you fat. Buying into the nonsense put out by snack manufacturers, makes you fat. Eating too much makes you fat. Eat less, eat normal food, pay attention to what you eat, and get back to normal size. I did, it works.

    December 26, 2011 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Paul

    Note: as said, there is more to it ... recently the Congress cave in to crap food industry lobbyists and decided that pizza can be classified as "vegetable" because it has tomatoes (which by the way are not vegetables but fruits) and so pizza can be served in school to meet the minimal vegetable serving requirements, for it to be considered healthy,
    Well, only really stupid people would think that a smart think to do, ... but if the people in the Congress are that selfish and are willing to serve pizza to their children (please note that not one Representative send his/her children to public school), then waht can you do ... it's self inflicted defeat and therefore fully earned.
    ON the other end, American people keep voting for theses stupid Representatives, because they can't make a difference between truth and TV advertisements.
    In the end, if people had a brain, they would not fall for the crap coming down from the Congress and the crap food companies and they would learn that life is a lot better when you are healthy. They would know that being fat is being unhealthy and that is not fun ... but they don't, because they are as stupid as the Representatives they voted for.
    So .. as said earlier, American people are destined to die fatty obese. There is no escape, the future of the world is in the end of those who are not obese, not fat and who understand there is a link between, culture and health.
    All the rest, are destined to disappear into oblivion ...

    December 26, 2011 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • phill

      As a father of 4 healthy normal weight teens I have no problem with the pizza thing. See, if kids wont eat the food the food is not healthy. If 30% of their classmates have no self control or moderation elsewhere in their lives why should my kids be hungry on tofu day. Removing less healthy choices does not teach anyone how to decide better.

      December 26, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
  25. KP

    The article isn't saying its all the mother's fault. 13% of kids with good maternal relationships are still obese, and about 75% with poor relationships are not obese. The study just identified a single statistically significant factor and quantified it. Nutrition is still likely the most important factor, there is probably also a paternal influence, and genetics are somewhere in the mix. So stop dismissing the results by bringing up anecdotal evidence pointing to one of dozens of other potential contributions.

    December 26, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      I gained and then lost 100 lbs, all while my mother was dead. What made me gain 100 lbs? I stopped paying attention to what I was eating, I thought I was "fit" and didn't bother to exercise or do much of any physical activities. How did I lose 100 lbs? I started paying attention to what I ate and started getting active. I started ignoring snack manufacturers ads and then began to notice they were LYING in the ads. A candy bar before a meal goes right into your fat cells, and you're still hungry at the next meal. They lied. No one calls them out and says the ad is false. They divert people from the truth, to sell you their high calorie snacks, they get rich, you get fat. What's new? A sucker born every minute, and you can get suckers to eat more than they need, if you convince them in the right way... just keep trying, and they'll buy it.

      December 26, 2011 at 15:52 | Report abuse |
  26. stayThin

    I agree with those who say that obesity is directly tied to excess intake of carbohydrates. For those who don't believe, read any book by 'Gary Taubes'.

    Its not exercise that causes obesity. Its actually obesity that causes one not to exercise. If you starting eating foods that encourage fat burning instead of fat storing, then you will feel like living an active lifestyle as well as the pounds start coming off.

    December 26, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan

      Not true! Stop eating animal based products and the weight falls off regardless of how much carbs you eat.

      December 26, 2011 at 22:38 | Report abuse |
  27. Paul

    By the way: recent development in technology are transforming the way war is fought .. more and more often a guy sitting behind a desk thousand of miles away in the US is operating a war machine (drone) that goes and kills people in a poor unstable country where most of the people are close to starving.
    Guess what .. the operator is likely an obese guy .. so here is the picture of the America of the future: an obese guy using technology killing the starving people in the country whose natural resources are used to fatten the obese war operator.

    I am exaggerating of course .. it's rhetorical figure, an hyperbole, to make a point. Like in all hyperbole, the underlining point is true .. . now think, if you can

    December 26, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • VRage13

      Paul – the person operating that drone is a very in-shape American serviceman. The military is kicking people out who cannot pass the fitness test in thier effort to lower medical cost within the DoD, now and in the future.

      December 26, 2011 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
  28. Sharon

    What a crock of crap! Blame the Mom. Blame the School. How about we blame those who are INTENTIONALLY turing all of us into food addicts? Did ANYONE see the CBS report on chemical concotions put in our food to make otherwise unedible crap so addicting we can't stay away. Get a grip people! Yes, eating less, eating healthy and moving more are all valid responses. Let's just call a spade a spade – FOOD INDUSTRY LIABILITY! I would LOVE to see a class action lawsuit for this one!

    December 26, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sciguy

      I'm in: you organize it and I'll find the legal group to represent it. There: done. I'm serious.

      December 26, 2011 at 17:10 | Report abuse |
    • VRage13

      That's it. Blame someone else for what you put into your body. Where is the personal responsibility?

      December 26, 2011 at 17:31 | Report abuse |
    • it.scion

      Yet another that needs to blame someone else instead of facing reality. You choose what you put in your mouth and yes, it is just that simple.

      December 26, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      You are one of the few who totally get it. The only thing I would say is instead of the law suit, just stop eating the junk.

      December 26, 2011 at 22:43 | Report abuse |
    • IgM

      Come on now, they are not blaming all moms. They found an association between a poor mother/daughter relationship and obesity. So don't have a poor relationship...

      December 27, 2011 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
  29. catster12

    Ridiculous!!!! I parents were terrible, I also didn't even have a real home until I was 2 and a half and I was not an obese teenager, neither were my friends. We grew up in the 70s, pretty much outside. The biggest prob I see is the economy. Children have had to be latch key kids since the 80s, such a shame.

    December 26, 2011 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. teremist

    Eat nothing yellow, nothing white, drink a glass of water a half hour before you eat a bite. Nothing fried, and nothing sweet, and take it easy on the size portion of meat. Eat veggies raw or steamed, with meals and in between. Don't eat late, or out of emotion, take a brisk walk, get in motion. You will lose 2 pounds a week, until you reach your ideal size, better health will be your prize.........R. Prock.

    December 26, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. VRage13

    Not just moms but dads too. Allowing your child to become OBESE is child abuse and child neglect. These are horrorable parents and the child should be removed from the household to ensure thier health is good in the future. This is particulalrly true with obamacare making me responsible for paying thier medical bills which will be very large and continuing with obesity being tied to diabetic and heart conditions. I was in a All-You-Can-Eat joint in AL and witnessed 2 very OBESE families come in and allow their kids to skip the meats, veggies and all things semi-good. These pre-teens loaded up on deserts only. If obamacare stands, ever OBESE kid (and adult for that matter) I see doing this kind of crap, I will chastise the parents very publicly and loudly while calling child protective services to save the children. Welcome to the the world of social medicine. If I have to help pay your medical bills, I have the right to tell you how to live your life to keep those medical bill down.

    December 26, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TF14901

      It's because of people like you that there are so many children in foster care. Did you know that YOU pay for EVERYTHING that child receives while it is in foster care? Did you also know that, when a child is adopted by the foster parents, the foster parents continue to recieve a check from the state for adopting these children?
      These foster parents recieve, on average, $1,000.00 PER MONTH PER CHILD!!!! You pay for these children until they are of the age of majority for that state. In NY, it is 21. QUIT BEING HOT LINE HAPPY, GIVE THE POWER BACK TO THE PARENTS TO PARENT, AND GET RID OF THE VIDEO GAMES, ETC...!!!!

      December 26, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse |
    • VRage13

      TF – Explain how this is my fault. I'm not OBESE. I have no OBESE children. I pay all my own bills. I don't ask no body for nothing. If parents allow thier kids to become OBESE, they have proven themselves to be unfit parents and the child needs to be protected. I wouldn't put them fostercare. I would put them in a state authorized kid fat farm paid for by the unfit parents until the unfit parents have completed a parenting and nuetrition class paid for by the unfit parents and the kids are back to a healthy wieght. I agree with turn off the TV, computer and all that other jazz. But I am confused how you think this is my faault.

      December 26, 2011 at 16:55 | Report abuse |
    • Abbyka

      I don't think there is anyone in the world that can control every single thing their child eats unless they put the food in a safe that only opens with the right fingerprint! Kids are resourceful and will get what they want even if they have to steal. I remember when I was young I took money from my mom's purse every morning so I could get junk food and not be forced to eat the school lunches. I know someone who has put locks on all the cabinets in the house because their child is overweight but the kid just goes to a friend's house and eats junk there or sometimes finds the key to unlock the cabinets. What needs to happen is someone finding a way to make healthy food tastier and easy to make. I've struggled with my weight food years. I've lost 61 lbs so far but I find it SO hard to find recipes that are within my capability and even then most of it is so bland that it makes life torture to live. Kids are no different. They don't want to eat something that tastes bad! Thats why they will sell their soul if they can to get a cookie. I know there are lots of cook books out there with recipes for healthy meals but they all taste like dog food or worse or they're too complicated for the average parent. At this point I'd give my right arm if someone would write a cookbook for family friendly and healthy recipes that I can actually make without nearly burning the house down. If that was something made available to all parents with obese kids I'm sure it would make things easier.

      December 26, 2011 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
  32. Furnatic

    Is the answer seriously that deceptive? I'm seriously convinced everyone is doing what they can to avoid self-responsibility. It's because parents now-a-days lack the ability to say no. McDonalds didn't force feed your kid. Checkers didn't force feed them. It's because parents will not say no to their kids when they want a candy bar and the parents simply let their kids sit about and play video-games. Is the 1980's generation the last one that is actually healthy!?!!

    December 26, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • catster12

      This started with the 1980s generation because both their parents had to work. All comes down to the economy. The 1980s generations is larger than my generation.

      December 26, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • TF14901

      Now a days, if a parent tells their child NO, they get turned into C.P.S. for "abuse". I had a lady tell me this morning that I was abusing my 5 year old because I told her we were NOT getting swiss rolls and she decided to cry and carry on about wanting them!!!! She actually did call c.p.s. on me and i waited at the grocery store for them. I am now under investigation for the next 60 days because of this woman!!!! So, give rights back to the parents to parent and maybe then we wouldn't have half of these problems!!!!

      December 26, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
    • VRage13

      TF – Just read your post and now I understand your reply. Let me clarify. You were being a parent and said NO to something they didn't need. Nothing in your post says unfit parent. Nothing says abuse or neglect. Kids need discipline and you provided it. So what if they throw a trantrum for being told NO. You have my sincere hope you beat this BS investigation.

      December 26, 2011 at 17:10 | Report abuse |
  33. Mary

    I have known lots of children who aren't close to there mothers and most are not fat lol! Its processed foods that causes obesity. I think this is just a ploy to get them off the hook. You people must think all of us are idiots if you would think we would believe this crap!!

    December 26, 2011 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Thinquer

    Where is the father? With close to half of more of the children in this country
    abandoned by their fathers, being raised by their mothers, I have to ask after
    every article of childen's problems: WHERE IS THE FATHER? WHERE ARE THE

    December 26, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Thinquer

    Will you please log me out now? Thanks.

    December 26, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. petemg

    So what is Michelle Obama's excuse. I am so sick and tired of hearing her talk about exercising and dieting, but she can eat a 1700 calorie, greasy hamburger with malt and a diet coke. How about if they take all of the flavor enhancers out of the foods. Too much technology. With people who have no jobs it is so much cheaper to eat more pastas and breads and such.

    December 26, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. sciguy

    This is another in along series of "research" done with the intent of making "research" where no research exists. By examining a portion of any population, by questionnaire of course, its always possible to find a demographic that has a quotient availability and a net-result.
    Here; I'll make this easy: children in poorer lower-level income groups have a lower/poorer relationship with the family unit as a whole. No father, (who tends not to believe their children are "mini-gods" and levels criticism at them when they do wrong), poor food choices handed down from one generation to another as well as poor food choices at the local grocery stores as well as poor parenting decisions all played a factor here but because the mother/child relationship is also a factor then by all means make it the ONLY factor. And you can according to all the Master's & doctorate programs who teach, intentionally, how to willow information even when the information lacks validity; they TEACH how to make it look valid.

    December 26, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Boinkingbill

    Single women are, also, repsonisible for so many gay men. Single woman, for the most part, cannot raise boys. So many boys from single mother families end up in jail or gay.

    December 26, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Abbyka

    I got along just fine with my mom, but she did kind of "give up" when she found out she had terminal liver disease(no she's not a drinker, it's a hereditary condition and my uncle died from it). She used to work and be extremely strict, then she just got lazy and stayed in bed all the time and let my brothers, sisters, and I do whatever we wanted. Unfortunately that meant I had to learn how to cook at age 9. Despite all that I don't blame her on my weight. I blame bullies and my siblings. Especially my siblings. Even to this day most of them treat me worse than most bullies have in my entire life. My sister had a secret handshake with my little brother that I was not allowed to learn, my second older sister used to beat me with a hangar, and my big brother would call me a hippo every chance he got(even when I wasn't overweight yet). I turned to food to self medicate. Not good food, since I was only 9 and didn't know how to cook anything that was healthy. Mostly junk food. I still don't blame my mother(thankfully she's still alive because doctors found the right medication to control her liver disease. Not a cure, but it's kept it from getting worse). The only thing I do blame her for is not stepping in to defend me against my siblings, but even then she's not the one that caused me to eat the pain away. I don't talk to any of my older siblings anymore, just my little brother who wasn't nearly as bad as them and treats me with respect now. I just thought I'd post my story because it's not always the parents to blame. Maybe posting this will make some other parents think more closely about their children and if the sibling rivalry might be going too far before it's too late. I got up to 305 lbs this past year, but right now I am 244. I have lost 61 lbs. I still struggle with emotional eating though.

    December 26, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. ctguy59

    eating like a pib and laying around watching t.v. = obesity, heart problems, diabetis and much more, being lazy = short life !!!

    December 26, 2011 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Nelg

    These fat articles always bring forth a flurry of excuses for fatness. They are like the high tech, modern version of "she just has big bones". There must be a few websites that target fat people with suggestions that it's a genetic defect, or some mysterious convoluted metabolic physiology unique to fat people, etc., etc. There are plenty of standard excuses repeated enough to attain the status of infallible conventional wisdom.

    When I went to school there were no vending machines in the schools, only water fountains and milk with the school lunches. My parents rarely bought a six pack of coke or any other soft drink. Same with bags of potato chips, etc. Cakes and cookies were an occasional treat, not universally available every day of the week and stockpiled in the pantry. Stores like WalMart aggressively market junk foods in the aisles and near the checkout counters. Just visit the average Walmart grocery section and count the number of aisles devoted to ice cream and deserts, potato chips, sweet pastry, beer, carbonated soft drinks, etc. There's big money in junk food. Then watch the shopping carts and contents of the fat customers. Fat parents, fat kids and a shopping cart full of junk food and fatty processed stuff with a gallon of cooking oil.

    December 26, 2011 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sciguy

      even soda years ago was made with cane-sugar. The "high-fructose corn syrups" are part of the hidden impact on weight. Remember: HFCS was developed to fatten hogs & cattle. See any relevance there?

      December 26, 2011 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
    • Nelg

      Sugar is sugar. 4 calories per gram. Cane sugar is a combination of glucose and fructose. There is no mystery about high fructose corn syrup. Cane sugar is just as fattening.

      December 26, 2011 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
  42. mother of four

    Anybody remember the "studies" from the fifties that claimed that autism was caused by refrigerator mothers? I suggest caution in embracing this idea. Weight problems can be caused by a complex set of issues–some of them genetic, poor education with respect to nutrition, emotional issues (that may or may not have anything to do with mothers). I have four boys–three of them are normal weight. One struggles with his. We have a very good relationship–he'd tell you this himself if he was here. It was the luck of the draw, genetically speaking. My mother (as her mother did before her) and all my siblings are overweight and I struggle with mine too (though I win more often than I lose). He didn't start to gain weight until he went to public high school (we homeschooled) and started eating away from home regularly (I did not harp at him–I simply provided healthy choices and little access to junk food). It took him a few years of adulthood to learn what I already know–that we simply can't eat the way other people can.

    December 26, 2011 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. bill

    Glad I didn't get my degree from Ohio State. Based on their "research" the sudden rise in child obesity must be caused by a sudden rise in poor emotional relationships with modern mothers. Somehow this doesn't even pass the "common sense" test. I would submit that children often look like and emulate their parents regardless of their "emotional relationship". They also tend to have the same eating habits.

    December 26, 2011 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. msadr

    Wait, just mothers? not fathers? well, that means gay male couples everywhere are going to raising some fat kids.

    December 26, 2011 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. elle

    The trick to losing weight is exercise, and basic healthy eating.

    December 26, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Billy

    Food does not make you fat!! It is based on the relationship with your parents, I am glad my mother loved me or I would be a huge fatty no doubt. I was so nice and got a lot of ice cream/cookies/cake and I didn't become fat.

    December 26, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Josh

    Well at least we know what do if we run out of food

    December 26, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Corey

    It's due to lack of exercise plain and simple. Look at Michael Phelps, he eats 10,000 calories a day and is nothing but muscle. Think that's a coincidence? The problem is we are becoming lazy. I have worked several different jobs where I could eat anything I wanted to and was still loosing weight. Dieting is for fools. Exercise enough and you will never have to diet again. Quit trying to do it the easy (wrong) way. And on last thing, don't cut P.E. (for the people on the right) in school otherwise things will continue to get worse.

    December 26, 2011 at 18:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      I'm not disagreeing, except for the fact that most fatties (I used to be one) have not been working out for years like he has so when they go to do 5,000 calorie all day work outs, unlike him, they fail miserably with torn muscles, exhaustion, and the fact that it takes all day long and they can't do that and hold a regular job, etc... Best is a sensible diet and about 1/2 to 1 hour of physical activity, your choice what that is, walking, bike riding, swimming, anything that won't tear you up when you first you start out, or continue with it over years. IMO.

      December 27, 2011 at 07:40 | Report abuse |
  49. David Crandall

    The blame for obesity has to fall on getting around in cars, fast/processed food, television lifestyle, jobs in cubicles and the fact that we just don't move around enough. It is so easy to fall into these lifestyles and we have to force ourselves to be different.

    December 26, 2011 at 18:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. J. Goodrich

    I haven't been able to get hold of the study so I don't know if they control for income. But given that obesity is more common now among the lower income families I would not be at all surprised if the correlation the study found is not a causal one, going from maternal relationship to child obesity but something different: Perhaps poverty creates the struggles and stresses which ultimately cause both family fractions and bad eating habits.

    December 26, 2011 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nelg

      CDC did a study and mapped the tonnage throughout the USA and also provided maps to show the increases over the years.

      December 26, 2011 at 19:29 | Report abuse |
1 2

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

« Previous entry
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.