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Are grandparents putting children's health at risk?

Children's risk of cancer is increased by exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke

grandparents© Photo: iStock
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
November 15, 2017
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Grandparents are inadvertently putting children's health at risk, according to scientists. It is believed that spoiling youngsters with sweet treats and snacks as well as exposing them to second-hand tobacco smoke will increase their chances of having cancer at a later stage. The claims are based on a review of research into the influence grandparents have on the lifestyle factors that are thought to pose a health threat. Dr Stephanie Chambers of the University of Glasgow said: "While the results of this review are clear that behaviour such as exposure to smoking and regularly treating children increases cancer risks as children grow into adulthood, it is also clear from the evidence that these risks are unintentional."

grandparents© Photo: iStock

Children's health are put at risk by grandparents, according to scientists

She added: "Currently, grandparents are not the focus of public health messaging targeted at parents and in light of the evidence from this study, perhaps this is something that needs to change given the prominent role grandparents play in the lives of children." Researchers from Glasgow analysed data from 56 studies in 18 countries that examined the possible influence elders have on kids. They reported that poor diet, excess weight and lack of physical activity can also increase the risk of cancer.

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Tam Fry, of the Child Growth Foundation, also said via Telegraph: "Finding a doting grandparent who is confident enough to follow rules laid down by mum and to the letter is frequently a rarity. Both nan and grandpa can leave themselves wide open to manipulative and increasingly savvy grandchildren in their desire to please the little darlings.

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"The thought of losing children when out in the park may result in the kids being under house arrest - sweeties on demand and woefully short on exercise. Unfortunately, despite the researchers' suggested messaging, it may ever be so as parents increasingly need to rely on this free form of childminding."

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