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Parental stress linked to their child's weight gain

When parents are stressed, their children are more likely to reach for comfort food, too.

A new study suggests that children whose parents have high levels of stress gain more weight and have a higher body mass index than other children. Compounded over several years, obesity could lead to more serious health issues.

The lead researcher theorized that parents might reduce the amount of physical activity at home or increase the amount of unhealthy food available when they are stressed. Parental stress could also create stress for the children, who cope by eating more or exercising less, he said in a press release.

Researchers used data from the Children's Health Study in California, including the kids' BMI and a questionnaire that measured their parents perceived psychological stress.

The report was published this month in the Pediatric Obesity journal.

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