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July 29, 2014

Helicopter Parenting and Weight

by Mary Jo DiLonardo

Do you hover? A new study shows  a link between helicopter parenting and overweight kids.

Between ages 10 and 11, the researchers found that overprotective mothering was linked with a 13% increase in the odds of children being overweight or obese.

Maybe it’s because when we’re protective, we make sure our kids are “safe” by keeping them warm, fed, and inside away from danger. That means they aren’t running around and exercising. They are inside, maybe snacking and watching TV, and being way too still.

We drive them everywhere and watch them so they don’t hurt themselves. It’s a lot different from when most of us were young. Our parents sent us outside to play and we walked (10 miles in the snow!) to school. All that fresh air and moving around was good for us.

The study is a good reminder that, while it’s critical to keep our children safe, it’s key that we don’t go too far. It’s OK to let them ride their bikes and run on the playground. If it’s a nice day — and not really far — walk to school with them, or at least to the bus stop.

Being too careful and hovering too much can have bad side effects. You can still watch your kids while you eat a healthy picnic lunch after a walk around the park.

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