You cherish your grandchildren as your blood, but there’s so much less responsibility than you had with your own kids. This means you can get away with giving them a few more treats, right?
Unfortunately, while you mean well – encouraging them to eat more volume and variety because it’s good for them – this could lead to weight problems for your grandchildren. This is what a study published in the journal Childhood Obesity concluded.
A team from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis looked at various studies and concluded that children cared for by their grandparents had a 30% increased chance of being overweight or obese. Lead author of the study, Professor Ruopeng An, said: “Through offering wisdom, teaching traditions, providing guidance and making memories, grandparents often leave behind a legacy that their grandchildren will cherish. However, some negative influences from grandparental care may also be present and cannot be overlooked."
Sadly, these negative elements include diet and exercise. This includes larger meals, more snacks, and more sweet and fried foods that kids’ parents might not usually give them. The older generation may have experienced poverty or rations when they were younger, and less of a food range – particularly junk food – so they don’t want grandkids to ‘miss out’. In terms of exercise, the researchers posited that grandparents are more likely to let their kids off housework – which is a good calorie burner. Their age might also mean the kids are doing less physical activities when they’re together. Interestingly the researchers found that the studies – from the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, and five other nations – all came to similar conclusions about grandchildren’s health.
Of course, you love your grandkids dearly, but with this in mind, ensure they keep active and don’t associate your company with too many food treats!