The presence of children can often make a divorce more complicated, and parents want to make sure that their divorce affects their children as little as possible. Parents tend to focus their concerns on the possible emotional impacts of divorce, but they should also remember that divorce can have an effect on their children's physical health as well, if steps are not taken to keep them healthy. In fact, a recent study from San Francisco State University found that children of divorce are more likely to consume sugary beverages such as soda, which can have a negative impact on their health.
The Study's Findings
The study examined the eating habits of 37 children in families that were recently separated or divorced. The goal of the study was to determine if a parental divorce increased children's risk for obesity-inducing behaviors such as the consumption of sugary soda. The researchers found that of the behaviors they studied, including soda consumption, skipping breakfast, eating fewer fruits and vegetables, and eating out more often, the only one affected by the divorce in a significant way was the increase in soda consumption.
The study's authors theorized that the reason for this increase was the fact that sugary beverages can be an easy form of stress relief. Children can consume the drinks for a short-term, pleasurable experience, and parents who are preoccupied with other things are more likely to allow their children the soft drink. Of course, it is important to note that the study was not designed to provide conclusive evidence of why the correlation exists, so these idea are nothing more than hypotheses.
Mitigating the Risk
The study also looked at potential ways that parents who are going through a divorce can mitigate the health risks that sugary drinks pose to their children. The researchers examined a variety of parental actions, family dinners, family activities, time spent with children, and “warm parenting behavior,” to see if any of them made an impact on the children's obesity risk. The study revealed that the most effective behaviors that correlated with sugary soda reduction were family dinners and other family activities. Consequently, parents looking to reduce their children's health risks from divorce should consider implementing these types of activities. The more that parents try to maintain their ordinary family routines like these, the better off children may end up being from a health perspective.
Many people worry about the impact that a divorce will have on their children, but there are ways to help them handle divorce in a healthy, effective manner. If you are considering a divorce and want to learn more about the process, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney today to understand the options that you have.