Recent Blog Articles

Child & Teen Health

5 habits for moms that help prevent childhood obesity

July 10, 2018

About the Author

photo of Claire McCarthy, MD

Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Claire McCarthy, MD, is a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition to being a senior faculty editor for Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. McCarthy … See Full Bio
View all posts by Claire McCarthy, MD


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


Cris Becker
July 16, 2018

I’m confused. Isn’t eating a healthy diet the maternal habit listed as number 5? And aren’t the habits listed ones that are correlated with obesity prevention in children? So why does the paragraph after number 5 state that there is no correlation between the mother’s diet and the child’s weight? Even the rest of that paragraph seems to imply that the mother’s diet makes a significant difference. Is there a typo, or am I just missing something?

Peter Faulk
July 11, 2018

Item #4 – Careful – Alcohol is a level one carcinogen, it causes cancers in 7 internal organs, breast and skin cancers. (ACS) It kills over 88,000 Annually in the US – Over 3 Million Globally – every year. One in ten working age adults overall in the USA (CDC). Alcohol also disturbs sleep, is a depressant and in some triggers a chemical addiction, escalating into serious troubles (just like some can’t eat peanut butter – some can’t drink safely). I would be extremely hesitant in suggesting daily intake of Diluted Rocket fuel (Ethanol) based on an incomplete study. Everything else – Spot on – and yes obesity is a huge issue. #soberworldorg

Darin Flynn
July 10, 2018

It is amazing that there was no correlation between a mother’s healthy diet and the obesity in a child. Food preferences and eating habits in children are difficult to modify for sure. Considering the strength of association with the other factors, it seems that setting examples of healthy living, or role-modeling, would be a plausible explanation. I believe this indirectly substantiates the over-attribution of genetic components to obesity commonly seen in media. Of course genetics plays a role, but not much. Thanks for reporting on this important finding.

Commenting has been closed for this post.

You might also be interested in…

The Diet Review: 39 popular nutrition and weight-loss plans and the science (or lack of science) behind them

You have tremendous latitude in what goes into your daily diet—and the choices you make can have profound consequences for your health. But what diet should you choose? The range is truly dizzying. Just some of the diets you might encounter are vegan, pegan, and portfolio. Raw food, whole foods, and Whole 30. Keto, carnivore, and paleo. Clean eating and intermittent fasting. DASH, MIND, and Volumetrics. Mediterranean, Nordic, and Okinawan. What does it all mean? And how can you begin to make sense of it? This Special Health Report is here to help.

Read More

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.