Studies that show unhealthy parents are more likely to have unhealthy children are nothing new, but new research reveals that parenting style effects children's health, too. A study from McGill University in Montreal found that the level of authority parents take with their offspring can also impact their weight.
Researchers used data gathered from 1994 to 2008 by the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, a Canadian survey that measures the BMIs of children ages 11 and under. They identified four key parenting styles: authoritative but responsive, authoritarian and unresponsive, permissive but responsive, and negligent. Children with authoritarian parents were at the greatest risk for obesity: These children were 30 percent more likely to be obese at 2 to 5 years old and 37 percent more likely to be obese at 6 to 11 years old than those with authoritative parents.
"These findings are consistent with what's been found for other dimensions of children's health — that an authoritative parenting style is the best one for children's health," study author Lisa Kakinami told Health.com. Authoritative parents set boundaries for their children but also give them positive praise and teach them the importance of self-control, which is instrumental in preventing obesity.