Child Obesity Linked to Domestic Violence

BOSTON, June 12 (UPI) — Mothers who reported some form of intimate partner violence were more likely than others to have children who were obese by age 5, U.S. researchers found.

Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett of the Boston University School of Medicine and colleagues tracked 1,595 children born from 1998 to 2000 until the children were age 5.

The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found 49.4 percent of mothers reported some form of intimate partner violence and of these women, 16.5 percent of the children were obese at age 5.

The findings persisted even when several confounding factors where included, such as television watching, depression among mothers, smoking during pregnancy and child birth weight, the study said.

“First, if intimate partner violence influences maternal responsiveness to the socioemotional needs of the child, then feeding practices may be influenced,” the study authors said in a statement. “Second, witnessing family violence may be associated with emotional distress and emotion-focused coping using food to self-soothe and address negative emotions.”

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