Children with Involved Parents Become Slimmer Adults

Family MomentsIndividuals with involved parents during childhood are more likely to be slim in adulthood, suggests a recent crowdsourced study conducted by researchers at Cornell University in New York as published in the journal PLOS ONE.

States study leader Brian Wansink, professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, “One of the best safeguards against your children becoming overweight as adults is how involved you are with their lives.”

Using data crowdsourced from 532 adults, the researchers asked participants recruited from relevant areas of, a website where users generate content, “Which childhood experiences and behaviors might predict slimness or obesity in adulthood?”

A total of 56 unique questions were submitted including:

  • When you were a child, did someone consistently pack a lunch for you to take to school?
  • When you were a child, were your parents obese?
  • When you were a child, how much sleep did you get on an average school weekday?
  • When you were a child, were you bullied?

The participants also provided information about weight, height, and age and answered questions about childhood behaviors.

According to the study, parental involvement significantly determines adult weight. Says, Prof. Wansick, “One of the best safeguards against your children becoming overweight as adults is how involved you are with their lives.”

Parents who play with their children, who talk about nutrition, and who simply spend time with their children are more likely to have children who grow up to be slimmer.

In other words, parents should spend time with their children.

Kirsten E. Bevelander, another author from the Radboud University Behavioural Science Institute in the Netherlands, additionally explains the benefit of crowdsourcing for research: “What’s particularly amazing is how people have identified these childhood predictors of obesity that experts have never thought about. Things like bullying, number of friends and how often parents play outdoors with their children are significantly predictive of how much a child will weigh as an adult.”

The researchers do note that crowdsourced data will only supplement other research methods: “However, because it is difficult to carefully control the quality of the questions submitted or the demographics of the participants, as would be the case with a more controlled study, this approach is most likely only a complement to, rather than a replacement for, conventional research methods.”

The other all message, however, is clear: Children with involved parents are less likely to grow up overweight or obese. Parents: Spend time with your kids!


Crowd-sourced study: ‘kids with involved parents become slimmer adults’:
Crowdsourcing novel childhood predictors of adult obesity:
Involved parents raise slimmer adults:

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