We talk about exercising more and eating less, but to truly fight obesity we must also consider attachment, the early bond with one's mother.
The standard advice for weight loss is to eat less and exercise more. Although a sound approach, this strategy appears to be falling short in the war against obesity, particularly among children. A recent study proposed a very different take on overweight prevention starting in early childhood. Instead of focusing on the body's energy balance, the researchers suggest improving the mother-toddler relationship, often called attachment.
The researchers explored the effect of maternal-child bonding during the preschool years on the likelihood of obesity during adolescence. Their results were striking.
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There were 977 participants in the study group. The researchers used standardized direct observation methods to evaluate the mother-child interactions at 15, 24, 36 months and to characterize the quality of the relationship. If the children were able to use their mothers as sources of comfort and support when faced with new challenges and be comforted by their mothers following stressful experiences, they were designated as having solid attachment.