Previous studies have shown that parents who eat more fast food and spend more time on the couch have kids who do the same. And moms and dads who let their kids watch more TV or spend hours in front of the computer also have children who are heavier and more likely to be obese.

Until now, there hadn’t been a close look at how overall parenting style – how permissively or authoritatively parents interact with their kids on everything from homework to chores and getting along with their siblings – might affect children’s weight. “We looked at the general way that parents can affect their child’s obesity even if they are not trying to control specific health-related behaviors,” says the study’s lead author Lisa Kakinami, a post doctoral fellow at McGill University.

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She and her colleagues followed a…

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