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Bad Parenting Habits Can Lead to Childhood Obesity

Overweight girl watching television on sofa

We've been known to eat our feelings. Bad day at the office? Grab that tub of ice cream.

We can joke about it because we've all been there, but it's not as amusing when the topic of childhood obesity is in the same conversation.

According to a new study, parenting styles have been linked to causes of childhood overeating.

A University of Illinois study examined different parenting habits by surveying nearly 500 parents. The questions asked ranged from the parent's mental state (Were they depressed?) to their relationship with their child and how they handled their children's emotions.

The parents who didn't know how to properly deal with their children's anxieties or emotional issues were labeled as "insecure parents." They're the ones who, instead of talking through problems with their kids, simply dismissed them or punished the children for raising the issue.

Because they don't receive the support they need from their families, the children of insecure parents are more likely to turn to other comfort-inducing options, like junk food. Additionally, they were more likely to spend more time in front of screens, which has also been "linked to unhealthy eating habits and childhood obesity."

So what do the study's authors recommend? Parents should learn to talk through problems with their children. Work through things together and describe how you're feeling—that way the situation won't seem quite as overwhelming.

Image via Getty Images/Moodboard

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