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THE INDEPENDENT: BLAMING PARENTS ENTIRELY FOR CHILDREN’S WEIGHT GAIN IS ‘UNFAIR’


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Interesting article in the Independent regarding children’s eating habits. While some believe that the way in which parents feed their children can have a huge impact on their chances of gaining weight, scientists at King’s College London and University College London have claimed that this may not necessarily be the case.

Instead they are suggesting that the way parents feed their young ones is likely to depend on their children’s natural weight.

In a study published in the journal PLOS GENETICS the team explored the correlation between a child’s “genetic predisposition towards a higher or lower weight” and their parent’s feeding techniques.

They found parents whose children were genetically predisposed to have a lower weight were more pressuring of them to eat, and those parents whose children were genetically predisposed to have a higher weight were more restrictive over how much and what they were allowed to eat.

This suggests that parents adapt their feeding techniques depending on the weight of their children, as opposed to the other way around. The way a parent feeds their child may also influence their child’s weight to some extent, but results challenge the prevailing view that parental behaviour is the major influence on child obesity.

I must admit that I’m guilty of feeding my girls in relation to their natural weight. However, my feeding techniques were quite the opposite to the results found in the study. Florence was always such a little dot so her portion sizes reflected that. Lily however was less petite than Florence so from around 11 months I served them quite similar portions as I felt Lily needed it. I’ve never overfed or underfed my girls as I’ve always listened to them when they’ve shown me that they were full, following the advice of our Consultant Paediatric Nutritionist. It’s important to look for signs that your children are full. If they aren’t fussy eaters and they tell you they are finished or if they push their food away or begin to pick at it then their stomachs are full and it’s important that as parents we do not encourage overeating, whether we feel like they’ve eaten enough or not.