Can Divorce Influence Child Obesity?

child obesity, divorce and child obesity, Illinois family law attorney, cohabitating stepparent family, cohabitating parents, traditional families, family structure, overweight children, divorce influencesDoes the dissolution of a family have a negative physical impact on children, leading to unhealthy weight gain and health risk? Research from Rice University and the University of Houston indicates that children in households with married parents are less likely to be overweight.

The study, “Family Structure and Obesity Among U.S. Children,” noted in the Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk, indicates that children in a “traditional two-parent married household are less likely to be obese (17 percent obesity rate) than children living with cohabitating parents, who have a 31 percent obesity rate.”

Childhood obesity is a concerning issue in the United States. Rachel Kimbro, the study co-author and associate professor of sociology at Rice University, reports that close to one-third of children between the ages of two and 17 are obese or overweight. In fact, 31 percent of children who live with cohabitating parents are obese. Twenty-nine percent of kids who live with adult relatives are obese, and those living with a single mom or a “cohabitating stepparent family” have a 23 percent obesity rate. Surprisingly, however, single fathers and married stepparent households show a much lower obesity rate in children at 15 percent. Kimbro explains that these households have an increase in socioeconomic resources, and are thus less likely to suffer from obesity.

As a divorced parent, it is important to be conscious of the options made available to your children. A greater awareness of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and positive habits with food and exercise can help to reduce instances of child obesity and other resulting medical problems.

The consideration, path, and consequences of divorce are difficult for children. If you are headed towards or going through a divorce, a qualified Illinois family law attorney can help. To schedule a consultation, please contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today at 630-409-8184.

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