A Mother’s Love May Keep the Doctor Away
An extra dose ofِ motherly nurturing insulates children fromِ lifelong health problems associatedِ with poverty, a newِ study says.
However, among people fromِ less-educated households, thoseِ who saidِ they hadِ a veryِ nurturing mother wereِ lessِ likely toِ develop metabolic syndrome, according toِ theِ study published Friday (Sept.
Parents’ education canِ beِ a moreِ reliable indicator ofِ a child’s home life thanِ family income, saidِ Lisa Berkman, director ofِ the Harvard Center forِ Population andِ Development Studies.
Education is not the whole story
A team ofِ researchers mined data fromِ a subset ofِ 1,200 participants inِ the decade-long National Survey ofِ Midlife Development inِ the United States (MIDUS) lookingِ forِ correlations betweenِ socioeconomic status asِ a child andِ the risk ofِ metabolic syndrome asِ anِ adult.
The adult participants filled outِ questionnaires aboutِ their parents’ behaviors, andِ researchers checked theirِ blood pressure, blood sugar, stomach fat andِ other signs ofِ metabolic syndrome.
Previous results fromِ MIDUS showed adults’ education levels influence theirِ risk forِ disability, memory andِ cognitive reasoning problems, saidِ Lachman, oneِ ofِ the principle investigators onِ the MIDUS study.
But not everybody who has low education does poorly in these areas, Lachman said.
The study showed thatِ parents’ education level wasِ notِ the single determining factor inِ children’s health: halfِ of children inِ the least-educated households grew upِ toِ develop metabolic syndrome byِ middle age, butِ 31 percent ofِ children fromِ college-educated households developed metabolic syndrome, too.
And adults fromِ a disadvantaged household whoِ wentِ onِ to earn higher degrees wereِ stillِ moreِ likelyِ to develop metabolic syndrome thanِ those raised inِ more-educated households.
Nurturing, theِ results implied, couldِ beِ one difference thatِ explains whyِ someِ people goِ on toِ live healthy lives despiteِ their circumstances, andِ others don’t.
A ‘constant test’ for moms
Studies have found good social ties and stable income lead to better health, Berkman said.
When you have neither of them you are at double jeopardy, she said.
And whileِ improving education andِ socioeconomic status wouldِ likelyِ helpِ children grow upِ toِ beِ healthier adults, Berkman saidِ there areِ alsoِ policy changesِ to family leave laws andِ flexible work schedules thatِ couldِ give families theِ opportunity toِ beِ more nurturing atِ home.
Mothers inِ almost allِ cases tryِ reallyِ hard.
We live inِ a country whereِ it’sِ a constant test, andِ it’s moreِ of a constant test forِ those whoِ haveِ the leastِ resources, Berkman said..