Grandparents feeding childhood obesity

22 July 2015

22 July 2015

Amanda Davey

Chinese grandparents contribute to childhood obesity

Chinese children who are mainly cared for by their grandparents are more than twice as likely to be overweight or obese compared with those who are looked after by their parents.

This is the main finding from a study that highlights the growing problem of overindulged and overprotected grandchildren in China.

It shows that grandparents, who are key providers of childcare, tend to overfeed their young charges while protecting them from physical chores.

The children also consume unhealthy snacks and sweet drinks more frequently than their peers.

Co-author of the study, Dr Bai Li from the University of Birmingham says her work shows grandparents still believe fat children are healthy and that obesity-related disease happens only among adults.

“Grandparents will often assess weight status by comparing their grandchildren with their peers, rather than seeking professional opinion,” she says.

Last Reviewed: 22 July 2015
Reproduced with kind permission from

Online doctor

Need health advice right now?See an Australian-registered doctor on your phone
Amanda Davey

Amanda Davey

Medical writer and editor of 6minutes.