Is it better to fund such research as cortisol tests or provide education and support for struggling families?

In a grant I read about research into child behavioral health, scientists stated that they believed that poor self regulation in children led to unhealthy behaviors such as overeating. They proposed to measure “… salivary cortisol and alpha amylase, self-regulation, eating behavior, diet, and anthropometry…” in 250 low-income children between 22 and 33 months old, 40% of which were already overweight by age three.

As I read this I couldn’t help thinking about the sometimes overwhelming difficulty of good parenting. I wonder if childhood obesity isn’t more related to the struggle of raising a child under hard socio-economic situations. When children want something they scream. It is so hard to not give in at the time of the tantrum and I have often wondered with amazement how parents with little to no financial/emotional support keep from hitting their children, much less from feeding them what is best rather than what is proper under stressful circumstances. While I think it’s great that scientists are doing their best to try to find solutions, I wonder if it might not be better to put more resources into helping young families by giving them more education and more support. Thoughts?

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2 thoughts on “Is it better to fund such research as cortisol tests or provide education and support for struggling families?

  1. Parenting is by far the hardest job around. It will go on for 18+ years, you can’t quit, and your children will constantly try to undermine your authority. Education is key, but there are people who believe that hitting children is ok, even sanctioned by the bible. How could you get past that type of thinking?
    Can you educate someone who doesn’t believe that education will help them?

    • I agree parenting is super hard! But even if education is difficult I firmly believe it’s not something we can just give up on. Perhaps just teaching something small will lead to greater understanding….

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