Babies whose mothers are kind and caring while dealing with them are less at risk of obesity in their first months of life.
Most of us are aware of the harmful health impacts that are associated with obesity and the struggle of reversing it in adults. Hence a lot of emphases has to be put on preventing obesity in toddlers and children who are at a higher risk. Tackling and effectively addressing the obesity epidemic on a timely basis is very vital. Parents and guardians play a crucial role in the life-long health consequences of their offspring. Maternal style, practices, and the relationship shared between the parent and child have all been allied to child weight development. It has been found that an optimistic parent-infant relationship categorized by motherly warmth and sensitivity may be related to healthy weight gain during childhood, whereas the parent harshness and negligence may be connected with juvenile obesity.
Parents not only nurture a child’s primary association with food, but they also regulate children’s non-food behaviours that can contribute to the danger of falling prey to obesity. For example, constructive parenting during the toddler’s playtime may play a major role in averting obesity by encouraging physical activity. The prenatal phase is a very sensitive stage of health and illness development. Any abuses that occur in the womb tend to have lifetime consequences. Mothers positively interacting with their children during their playtime can surely do wonders in mitigating the problems of obesity among high-risk infants.
How can a mother’s love cut obesity risks?
Risk factors for obesity are numerous, various and can come into play before we are even born. The silver lining to their long-winded nature is that there are also countless ways that obesity perils can be condensed. But amongst these, the best way to offset an infant’s obesity dangers is surely the mother’s affectionate behaviour patterns. It has been found that when mommies speak lovingly and in warm tones with their babies while they play, the infant is less prone to obesity risk looking at their weight-gain patterns.
Prenatal and early childhood stress can also contribute to obesity in children
Infants whose mothers had engaged in substance use like smoking cigarettes, alcohol intake, marijuana or cocaine while they were expecting and have had a low socioeconomic status also are close to being obese, if not in the early stages maybe later on. Prenatal exposure to any of these substances can subject a fetus to various adverse impacts, encompassing poor nutrition and insufficient flow of blood or oxygen, which can result in enduring neuroendocrine fluctuations and metabolic dysfunction. Even post-birth, these infants may experience added stresses stemming from the socio-economic challenges faced by their mothers, the result being infantile obesity.
The connection between maternal warmth and body mass index
Babies of mothers showing very little warmth in their tone during free-play interactions with their infants have been associated with steeper body mass index trajectories, while the mothers who have been exhibiting more warmth in their interactions with the babies were not. This proves that preliminary mother-child connections during the child’s playtime and feeding sessions have an enduring positive effect on the health outcomes of the children, especially those close to developing obesity risk. Hence maternal warmth during free playtime is associated with a healthier BMI and abridged obesity risk in high-risk kids.
An initial intervention program can facilitate parents and guardians to comprehend how to categorize and respond sympathetically to infant hunger and satiety signals, to encourage self-regulation. This will surely bring about success in minimalizing early quick weight gain in your little munchkins, thus will have a long-lasting impact on obesity hazards among high-risk kids.
(Inputs from Dr Rajalaxmi Walavalkar - Medical Director, Senior Gynaecologist and IVF Specialist at Cocoon Fertility)
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