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Indulgent grandparents 'bad for children's health'

From BBC - November 14, 2017

Indulgent grandparents may be having an adverse impact on their grandchildren's health, say researchers.

The University of Glasgow study, published in PLOS One journal, suggests grandparents are often inclined to treat and overfeed children.

The study also found some were smoking in front of their grandchildren and not giving them sufficient exercise.

Lucy Peake, of the charity Grandparents Plus, said grandparents needed to be "better recognised and supported".

"Grandparents want the best for their grandchildren, and the more they are informed and enabled to play a positive role in their grandchildren's lives the better things will be," said Ms Peake.

The researchers looked at 56 studies with data from 18 countries, including the UK, US, China and Japan.

The report focused on the potential influence of grandparents who were significant - but not primary - caregivers in a child's early years.

The review considered three key areas of influence:

In terms of both diet and weight, the report concluded that grandparents' behaviour had an adverse effect.

Grandparents were characterised by parents as "indulgent" and "misinformed", and accused of using food as an emotional tool.

Many studies found they were inclined to feed grandchildren high-sugar or high-fat foods - often in the guise of a treat.

Parents felt unable to interfere because they were reliant on grandparents helping them out.

The study also found that grandchildren were perceived to be getting too little exercise while under the care of their grandparents.

Physical activity levels appeared to be related to whether grandparents were active themselves, or whether there was appropriate space where children could be active.

'Unintentional'

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