The conversations of life

Bad grandma: spending time with your grandkids could increase their risk of cancer? Maybe – maybe not

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Another ‘obvious’ study. The University of Glasgow has found the bad habits of grandparents who provide part-time care could lead to “an increased risk of cancer” for children later in life.

Using data from 56 studies across 18 countries, the researchers concluded that grandparents who were described as “indulgent” (in short, those who spoiled their grandchildren with unhealthy food and were more lax on screen time and exercise) often had a negative impact on the diet, exercise and weight of their grandchildren.

Think cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.

Likewise, when grandparents smoked in front of grandchildren, children were more likely to take up the habit.

A cause for concern – or not?

The researchers point out more education is needed to be targeted towards grandparents.

As a grandparent myself, I agree there is a need for more information and support.

But I think we need to relax a little too. The majority of grandparents I know are great role models in teaching kids healthy habits.

There’s also plenty of evidence that grandparents who care for their grandkids tend to live longer, and grandchildren who grow up with grandparents are more emotionally developed later on.

So sorry kids – I’m still taking the grandchildren out for ice cream. Just not every day.

Jill Donaldson

A practising aged care physiotherapist for the past 13 years, Jill has worked in more than 50 metropolitan and regional aged care homes. She has also toured care facilities across the US and Africa. She is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff that serve them.


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