We can all understand that divorce can be a demanding and stressful time for couples, both physically and mentally. For children whose parents are separating, the strain can be felt by them too. A recent study has shown some interesting ways in which divorce might specifically affect children.

The Norwegian study shows that the children of divorced parents are more likely to be obese; in fact, 1.54 times more likely than children with parents that are still happily married. The researchers measured the body dimensions of over 3,000 school children and compared their findings against their parents’ marital status, before concluding that obesity was more common amongst children whose parents had been through a divorce.

Further research from a Texan university suggests that the reason behind this correlation is because children who live with both parents have more available resources to them and thus more opportunity to consume more. Other research suggests that children who feel hurt about their parent’s contentious relationship turn to food for comfort, have less normalised routines or may spend more time alone or at home, which gives them an  increased access to junk food.

The Norwegian study also found that children who eat meals with their parents have a lower risk of becoming obese, a finding which encourages family mealtimes and thus increases the amount of quality time spent with your child.

In divorce proceedings between couples with children, the Court will prioritise the welfare of the children and will make arrangements that best suit the child. The Courts believe that children should be given a safe and predictable routine to give them a sense of stability and control in what can be a disruptive or distressing time for them.

This suggests it is very desirable to provide children with a stable pattern of care arranged between you and your ex-partner, provide them with quality time and aim for an amicable working relationship with your ex-partner to make it work for the child.

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