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HEALTH


Like Mother Like Daughter? Say It Isn’t So…


N


ew research recently released by HealthyWomen (HW) sheds intrigu-


ing light on women’s understanding of their role and influence in America’s growing obesity epidemic. The survey showed that while the majority of women believe a parent’s obesity has an influence on a child’s risk of becoming obese (87%), surprisingly only one-quarter (28%) of women surveyed assign the responsibility to themselves. In reality, studies have shown stronger correlation over time for mother-child obesity compared with fa- ther-child obesity. And the influence starts early. Only


11% of women in HealthyWomen’s Wo- menTALK survey realized that a child’s risk of becoming obese more than doubles if the mother is obese during her first tri- mester of pregnancy. According to recent research, this impacts roughly one in five women that are obese when they become pregnant. Forty-six percent of respondents were unsure of the effect of maternal obe- sity on the risk of a child becoming obese. Yet, studies show the risk for newborn complications, including long-term com- plications like obesity, is higher for obese women with a BMI of 35 or more. BMI (body mass index) is an estab-


lished measure used by physicians and health experts to determine weight status and is calculated from a person’s height and weight. Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or greater, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preven- tion (CDC). Because a mother’s influence is so


strong, some see the survey findings as an opportunity to reverse bad behaviors and a call to action for breaking the cycle once and for all. “While the statistics are disconcerting,


we know that mothers are commonly viewed as role models for eating behavior and serve as gatekeepers of food,” says Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, RN, execu-


WWW.PROFESSIONALWOMANMAG.COM CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF DIVERSITY PROFESSIONAL WOMAN’S MULTICULTURAL MAGAZINE 69


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