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Emotional support from grandparents may offer protection against obesity

Posted:  Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Children love their grandparents for obvious reasons, but going by a new study, their presence and emotional support may benefit the children’s health too. Swedish researchers in their new study found that emotional support from grandparents may exert a protective role against obesity even in the presence of other risk factors.

These results were published in the journal Pediatric Obesity. For the study, the researchers included 39 preschool-aged children from Stockholm County who were previously treated for obesity. The parents of the children answered a detailed questionnaire on their socio-economic status measured by education, income levels, work, domestic situation and savings at the end of the month.

Low socio-economic status is a proven risk factor for obesity. The parents also answered detailed questions on the extent of physical, financial and emotional support they received from their parents, essentially the children’s grandparents.

The researchers found that grandparental support seemed to have a protective effect against obesity in the children. Parents with low income and low emotional support seemed to have children with higher degree of obesity compared to parents with low income but high level of emotional support.

"Our study shows that emotional support from grandparents may have a preventive effect against child obesity, which is a serious disease. These findings could, for instance, be incorporated into the planning of public health programmes that are aimed at reducing obesity in children. Greater social support for families with small children could help alleviate stress in parents, who will thereby be in a better position to make better food choices," concluded the researchers.

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