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Family Law Blog

Divorce Tied to Excess Weight Gain in Children

Monday, June 02, 2014

Children can be exposed to emotional trauma when their parents divorce. A new study finds that children of divorced parents also struggle with excessive weight gain.

The study was conducted in Norway, and analyzed a group of 3rd graders. This analysis found that boys whose parents were divorced, were approximately 63% more likely to be obese or overweight, compared to boys whose parents were married. These boys also had a staggeringly high risk for abdominal obesity. They were approximately 104 percent more likely to suffer from this condition.

The researchers believe that they have found a link between obesity and divorce, but say that they cannot confirm that divorce was the only cause of this weight gain. For instance, the study did not take into consideration how long the parents had been divorced, and did not account for the presence of other factors that affect weight gain, like diet and exercise.

However, considering that child obesity is a public health problem not just in Norway, but in many other parts of the developed world, including the United States, doctors, parents and pediatricians need to take the findings of the study seriously. One reason why children gain weight when their parents get divorced is the lower supervision that accompanies a divorce in the family. Parents, who are trying to work through their trauma and the division of responsibilities of parenting, may not be able to give their children enough attention. Additionally, children may become stressed when a divorce becomes toxic, and that could lead to children overeating for comfort.

Whatever the reason, when a divorce turns hostile or becomes acrimonious, there can be long-term consequences on the children. Speak to a qualified divorce attorney about divorce mediation before you head to divorce court.