SYOSSET, NY – Divorced parents concerned about a study that says children might become obese after the split can try planning meals and pushing their kids to go out and get some exercise, an endocrinologist in Syosset says.
A Norwegian study recently noted that children of divorced parents are more likely to be overweight or obese. Maria Pena, MD director of the Center for Weight Management at Syosset Hospital, says that the study was too small for parents to get overly concerned, but children can be impacted by their parents’ divorce and the children’s behavior should be monitored for potential ramifications.
“Divorce is a very traumatic experience,” says Dr. Pena. “Many times, the way the children cope, just like adults, is by eating. There’s a lot of stress involved, which leads to mindless eating and eating promoted by anxiety and by sadness as well.”
When a divorce occurs, there are a lot of changes – financial, emotional, etc. Meal planning in advance can help keep children on a healthy, regular schedule and making sure that both parents, if possible, make time to go outside and exercise with the child can be beneficial, Dr. Pena says.