If you smoke and drink in front of your children, you may want to stop doing that. A new study finds that children are strongly affected by the lifestyles and habits of their parents, especially when young.
For example, if a parent smoked when their child was young, the child was much more likely to smoke as an adult.
The study, published in a non- profit media outlet the Conversation, stated that the children are affected through two different mechanisms – first, poor living conditions in childhood lead to poverty in adulthood and second, health is transmitted from parents to children.
It also increases the risk of diseases and various health-related negative outcomes, especially obesity resulting from alcohol abuse, later in life.
Researchers from the University of Leeds in England, studied over 21,000 participants, aged 50 and above. The team compared the participants’ current smoking habits, obesity and lack of exercise with their parents’ job, longevity, smoking status and alcohol problems, during the participants’ childhood.
The results showed that beyond the obvious common genetic inheritance across generations, parents’ health also has an impact on their children’s health by imparting habits and lifestyles.
It was found that if a person’s father smoked when they were 12, they were almost twice as likely to smoke than those people whose fathers did not smoke at all.
If mothers smoked, it increased the risk of their daughters smoking, but not their sons. The risk that a person would smoke was also higher among those whose father was a manual worker, and who had experienced periods of poverty during their childhood.