Children of divorced parents are at a higher risk of obesity, according to new research.
A study by a team of Norwegian researchers claimed that changes to the family structure during childhood can have a significant impact on a child’s weight.
The study examined the marital status of parents of over 3,000 Norwegian children, and also measured the children’s height, weight and waist circumference.
Children of divorced parents were one and a half times more likely to be overweight than children from married homes, the researchers concluded.
The Norwegian results mirror a similar study done in the United States last year, which found children of single-parent households to have a higher likelihood of obesity.
The American research suggested that a possible explanation for this could be that children who live with both parents usually have more resources available to them, and that children of divorced parents spend more time at home alone, giving them more chances to snack on junk food.
Previous research has shown that parents often hugely underestimate the effects of divorce on their children.
The Norwegian study was one of several presented to the European Congress on Obesity in Sofia, Bulgaria examining the connection between family circumstances and the eating habits in children.
Another claimed that children who eat breakfast with their parents were significantly less likely to develop weight problems than those who don’t.
Photo by brian wallace via Flickr