Can Spanking Lead to Obesity?
Thirty-one percent of adults who said they had been grabbed, pushed or slapped by parents or caregivers as children were obese, according to the study. Obese adults who were punished physically as children were 28 percent more likely to have heart disease and 25 percent more likely to have arthritis.
While some experts question the strength of the research findings, citing that "harsh" physical punishment was loosely defined, lead researcher and community health professor Tracie Afifi maintains that consistent physical punishment creates a state of chronic stress. This may trigger a chain of physiological and emotional reactions that lead to poor lifestyle choices.
"The basis of almost all of our work is preventing issues early in life, because we understand the link between obesity and what happens in the first five years," says Reena John, senior program officer at First 5 LA. John adds that parents are a child's first teacher, which is why First 5 LA supports childhood obesity prevention programs targeting parents.
John notes that healthy eating and exercise have been proven to reduce a child's chances of becoming obese. Because most preschoolers eat at least 50 percent of their calories in a child care facility, First 5 LA is funding obesity prevention programs that educate child care providers about nutrition.
Regardless of whether a direct link exists between obesity and spanking, most experts would agree that corporal punishment is not an effective way to discipline kids.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests parents establish a loving, trusting relationship with their children, praising kids for good behavior as a means of positive reinforcement. Time-outs are recommended for younger children who need to be disciplined. Parents who are unsure about the best approach to discipline should speak with their child's pediatrician.
You matter. It’s a key concept in teaching children self-esteem. It is also an...Read More
Research shows that when people immigrate to the United States, their diet changes...Read More
Mealtime: It's the perfect opportunity to connect with your children. But a recent...Read More