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Parent's depression may affect children

Parents who struggle with depression or stress may find it harder to provide the necessary emotional support for their offspring and affect their children's health, US researchers have found.

A study by psychologists at the University of Florida found that distressed parents who struggle to keep their own emotions in check can fuel a vicious cycle that makes it harder for children to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Lead author David Janicke, assistant professor of clinical and health psychology at the university, commented: 'Looking at how parents are doing themselves, how they are doing socially and emotionally and how they are coping with the stresses in their lives, is really important.

'It's important for them to take time out to take care of themselves.'

Writing in the journal Obesity, the researchers detail a survey of 96 overweight or obese children and their parents, which revealed that children whose parents were struggling had a lower score for quality of life.

'If a parent is distressed, that seems to impact a child's symptoms of depression, which then impacts quality of life,' the researcher said.

'And it seems to affect not just the emotional aspect of quality of life, but also their health status,' he added.