Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Rigid Parenting Style Linked to Obese Kids

Demanding, inflexible approach might foster negative response, study suggests

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Maureen Salamon

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Kids with demanding parents who are rigid about rules, stingy with affection and won't discuss limits are far more likely to be obese than children whose parents practice a more balanced parenting style, new research suggests.

Canadian scientists found that obesity rates were about one-third higher in children up to age 11 whose parents used a so-called "authoritarian" parenting style, marked by inflexibility over rules and a lack of emotional responsiveness. In a group of more than 37,000 children, these kids were significantly heavier compared to those whose "authoritative" parents were generally affectionate, willing to discuss behavior limits and set healthy boundaries.

"These findings are consistent with what's been found for other dimensions of children's health -- that an authoritative parenting style [compared to an "authoritarian" approach] is the best one for children's health," said study author Lisa Kakinami, a postdoctoral epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal.

"Parents with that style are also less likely to have children engaging in risky behaviors," Kakinami said. "The results are what we expected, but it's nice to see it show up in this way."

Although the study, scheduled for presentation Wednesday at an American Heart Association meeting in San Francisco, showed an association between parenting style and obesity rates, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Obesity rates in the United States have more than doubled in children (to nearly 18 percent) and have quadrupled in adolescents (to almost 21 percent) in the past 30 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Canada, obesity rates among children and teens have nearly tripled in the past three decades, government officials said.

For this study, children whose weight approached the 98th percentile among others their age and gender were considered obese.

In the nationally representative analysis of Canadian children, Kakinami and her colleagues found that youngsters aged 2 to 5 with authoritarian parents were 30 percent more likely to be obese than those with authoritative parents. Among kids from 6 to 11 years old, the obesity rate was 37 percent higher in the authoritarian group.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd