Grand­par­ents should come with child health warn­ing, say sci­en­tists

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE -

GRAND­PAR­ENTS ARE a po­ten­tial health haz­ard for chil­dren and may even in­crease their risk of can­cer, say sci­en­tists who claim they spoil their grand­chil­dren with sweet “treats” and big help­ings of fat­ten­ing food, and ex­pose their young lungs to sec­ond­hand to­bacco smoke.

The ex­tra­or­di­nary claims are based on a re­view of re­search into the in­flu­ence grand­par­ents have on life­style fac­tors that can sow the seeds of can­cer in later life.

Lead au­thor Dr Stephanie Cham­bers, of the Univer­sity of Glas­gow’s Pub­lic Health Sciences Unit, 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.

“Cur­rently grand­par­ents are not the fo­cus of pub­lic health mes­sag­ing tar­geted at par­ents; per­haps this is some­thing that needs to change given the prom­i­nent role grand­par­ents play in the lives of chil­dren.”

The team an­a­lysed data from 56 stud­ies and 18 coun­tries. Tam Fry, chair­man of the Na­tional Obe­sity Fo­rum, said: “Both nan and grandpa can leave them­selves wide open to ma­nip­u­la­tive and in­creas­ingly savvy grand­chil­dren in their de­sire to please the lit­tle dar­lings. They bring out the bis­cuits at the slight­est hint of a tantrum.”

DR STEPHANIE CHAM­BERS: ‘Grand­par­ents’ sug­ary treats and smok­ing im­pact on child health.’

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