A U.S. study has found that children who live in traditional households with their biological, married parents are less likely to be obese than kids who live in single-parent or step-parent families.
What researchers found was that of the 10,400 pre-school aged kids examined, those living in two-parent, married families had a 17 percent obesity rate.
Meanwhile, that figure spiked to 31 percent among children living in a household where the parents lived together without marital status, 29 percent among children living with an adult relative, and 23 percent in single-mother households, as well as unmarried, step-parent families.
"For reasons we cannot fully measure, there appears to be something about people who marry and have a child that is fundamentally different than the other groups, and these factors are also linked to children's weight," said study co-author Rachel Kimbro in a statement.
Findings were published in the Journal of Applied Research on Children and released last week.
Interestingly, the exception to the findings was children living with single fathers, or in married stepparent households, who boasted the lowest rate of obesity at 15 percent.
The study authors explain this trend as in keeping with previous research which found that single-father households tend to have more support and socio-economic resources than single mothers. And since socio-economic status is the “single greatest predictor of health,” children in these situations may be less likely to be obese, researchers said.