PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When parents get divorced, kids can have a number of struggles.
One of them can be weight gain.
“Parents are under stress, there’s only one parent to take care of all of the chores and demands that two parents were taking care of. Making healthy, nutritious meals, paying attention to the kids, supervising the kids, there’s not always time to do all of those things as much as the parents would want to,” says Dr. Judy Cohen, a psychiatrist at Allegheny General Hospital.
Researchers in Norway looked at 3,000 third graders.
Boys were 63 percent more likely to be obese if their parents were divorced compared to those whose parents were married.
“It’s possible that there’d be differences in the stress hormones between boys and girls that could possibly account for how boys might respond with eating, girls might respond with anxiety, or other kinds of problems, so that’s something that might warrant more attention,” Dr. Cohen said.
This study can’t show that divorce causes weight gain, but it can be a factor to consider when looking at risk.
“We really want to think about what things change when children don’t have access to both of their parents, and really to proactively try to support these children and these families as much as possible, both emotionally, psychologically, as well as nutritionally and recreationally,” Dr. Cohen says.
The researchers did notice a similar weight pattern among girls with divorced parents, but the finding in girls may just have been due to chance.