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Research

Divorce can negatively impact children by increasing their risk of obesity

Marriage is defined as the bonding of two adults. It is important for emotional support, intimacy and achieving the long-needed love. But sometimes a marriage does not work out and the partners end up having a divorce.

Scientific studies have shown the consequences of divorce. It can lead to a severe amount of emotional toll on the individual. That being said, little do we consider the impact the ending of marriage might have on children.

While children are equally disturbed, a new study raises another crucial concern: that of obesity. Which is to say, children who have witnessed the divorce of their parents are more likely to gain weight as opposed to their mother and father remaining together.

Why that might be the case will be explained later, the findings also showed that the impact to be monumental for children who are aged below six.

Children Health and Divorce

To test the relevant concerns, a group of scientists from the London School of Economics and Political Science got together. They compiled the data of about 7,600 children from all over the UK who were born after 2000.

Among the participants, as many as 20% had experienced the divorce of their parents. They were either living with a single parent or any relative in the rare of the circumstances. Most had also seen the separation before they even turned 10.

Accordingly, as the study proceeded, the scientists observed a number of important things. Primarily, they investigated the health of the children by calculating the Body Mass Index (BMI). As a result, children were categorized either into underweight, normal, overweight or obese at the completion of the study. Moreover, researchers also accounted for height, gender, and mental wellbeing.

Once the study ended, the findings were documented and a comprehensive conclusion was drawn. The results showed that children who had experienced the divorce of their parents ended up gaining more weight. They were more likely to be overweight and obese with the risk increasing with time.

A male child was at a higher risk of gaining weight than a female child, more importantly, children under 6 arguably had the worst BMI. The effects started exhibiting within the first 3 years since the divorce had taken place.

Possible Reasons

We know from the LSE study that divorce can potentially have a negative impact on the health of the children. The next step entailed finding the possible reasons for the causation that was observed.

While a number of explanations can be put forward, some of the well-known theories are as follows.

  1. Single Parent have less money to spend on healthy food: As a result of the divorce, the single parent has less to spend on nutritious fruits and vegetables.
  2. Less money for outdoor activities: The scientist also found that divorce can mean less money for co-curricular activities such as gaining membership at a football/swimming club or even gym.
  3. Emotional Toll can lead to overeating: As mentioned at the start of the article, children are also mentally affected by the divorce. When in a stressful situation, they may end up consuming more calories than they are required to. Worst of all, when little attention is paid by the single parent, their health might just deteriorate.
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Cindy Johnson

Cindy Johnson is a journalist for Top Health Journal. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Cindy got an internship at a morning radio show and worked as a journalist and producer. Cindy has also worked as a columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel. Cindy covers economy and community events for Top Health Journal. Contact Email: cindy@tophealthjournal.com Phone: 720.907.1923

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