Children reflect their parent’s thoughts, attitude, characteristics and personality apart from being a mirror image of their parents (mostly). As kids, they might not give heed to our suggestions, advise or interests. But, once they grow up into teenagers, a dad becomes the No.1 inspiration for every son and girls try to duplicate their mom’s every step! Nothing goes down the bin and everything that was inculcated to kids during their childhood years are implemented by them during their teenage years (hopefully 😊). A positive attitude in life goes a long way beyond garnering immediate advantages. It helps to look at the brighter side of things and deal with situations in a cool-headed manner, just like our Captain Cool! A new study done by two reputed Universities reveal that teenagers are less likely to be overweight if their mum or dad had a positive attitude during pregnancy. If you wonder how on earth is positivity linked to obesity, be assured that some miracles do happen!
Locus of Control: The Point of Life Control!
The study analyzes an unexplored area of personality called as locus of control (LOC). LOC is a psychological measure that can be grouped as external or internal LOC. A person with an internal LOC attributes success to his/her abilities and efforts whereas a person with an external LOC attributes success to luck and fate. People with an external LOC tend to experience much anxiety in life as they believe that all things are not under their control and depend purely on external factors. But, this does not bring us to the conclusion that internal LOC is good for us and external LOC can attract negativity. But it is highly likely that people with an internal LOC tend to be much more success-driven and achieve greater heights in life. The same concept can be applied to health too where individuals with an internal LOC believe that they can improve their health and lifestyle through their own actions.
The study looked into answers of more than 7000 parents who took part in the children of the 90s longitudinal study about their personality, mood and attitude during pregnancy. The research team received similar answers from children at age of eight and the child’s fat mass measurement up to the age of 17 was also measured. Using all these data the study group could arrive at the conclusion that a mother’s psychological background during pregnancy is one of the deciding factors that affect teenage weight gain. Teenagers had an excess weight of:
We are well-aware that diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle goes a great way beyond nutrition and keeps a person fit, strong and in shape. Alarming increase in obesity rates is mainly due to poor diet and lack of exercise in both adults and kids alike. Little do we know about psychological factors that can affect excess weight gain. But, the questionnaires filled by parents and the body measurements available point to an important factor-self-belief-the lack of which can be a great contributing factor for childhood obesity in kids aged 15 years. When a parent lacks belief in his/her ability to influence change by eating healthy, stopping to smoke and breastfeeding baby, the mom involved is refraining from following healthy habits that can affect her body physically and which in turn can affect the kid’s body too physically.
This might serve as an important step in understanding the role played by a parents’ locus of control on the child’s ability to develop a healthy lifestyle during the child’s teen years. Our mind can do wonders and the fact remains true. Sages and yogis achieve many things impossible to the common man, move the unmovable and accomplish the unattainable in life using their mind power and control. Curing cancer or treating GERD might be impossible with LOC, but there are other chronic illnesses such as arthritis in which the LOC plays a vital role in adapting to the illness.
Get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to develop a health lifestyle routine for your teenager to prevent him/her from the obesity epidemic.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.