STAT Medical News: Stay-at-Home Moms More Likely to Be Obese


May 15, 2006 <p> -- HOME IS WHERE THE FAT IS? Women who stay at home full time with the kids for many years may be more likely to become obese and report poor health, according to new research from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Researchers base their findings on interviews with about 1,500 British women who were interviewed periodically from age 26 to age 54. They found that full-time homemakers who had never held a job were most likely to be obese (38 percent) compared with 23 percent of women who had been married, had kids and worked outside the home. Full-time homemakers were also two times as likely to report poor health. Researchers aren't sure why homemakers are more likely to become obese and report poor health, but they say it's not a matter of overweight people choosing not to work. Rather, the authors bof the study believe that it is the lifestyle of the homemaker that leads to an increased risk of obesity or poor health.

NOT SO SPORTING PARENTS According to coaches, parents of young athletes can have a negative impact on their children's development. The findings from the British Journal of Sports Medicine are somewhat limited in scope because researchers surveyed only junior tennis coaches in the United States, not coaches from many different sports. The tennis coaches felt that, while more than half the parents had a positive influence on their children, more than a third had a negative influence. Negative factors cited by the coaches included an excessive focus on winning, unrealistic expectations, coaching their own child, criticizing the child, and excessive pampering.

DIABETES LINKED TO A VIRUS? Researchers in Britain have announced findings on a new genetic variant associated with the risk of Type 1 diabetes. The results, published in the journal Nature Genetics, show that the gene is present in many different populations in Europe and the United States. The gene, IFIH1, codes for a protein that is involved in the immune system response to viral infection, raising the possibility that one of the causes of diabetes may be aberrant response to a virus.

STAT is a brief look at the latest medical research and is compiled by Joanna Schaffhausen, who holds a doctorate degree in behavioral neuroscience. She works in the ABC News Medical unit, evaluating medical studies, abstracts and news releases.

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