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Another negative effect of divorce on kids: They’re more likely to be overweight

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Among the many negative effects a divorce has on children is that they tend to be heavier than kids from marriages where parents stay together.

A new study suggests that children from divorced couples were 54 percent more likely to be overweight or obese, and 89 percent were more likely to have abdominal obesity (too much weight around the waistline), compared with kids from families with married parents.

The study, conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo, looked at data collected about 3,100 third graders. It also claims that boys are particularly at risk for weight gain after a divorce, claiming they are 63 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than boys whose parents stayed married.

The numbers for boys grows to a startling 104 percent more likely to be abdominally obese than other boys.

"Knowing which factors are associated with childhood overweight and obesity is crucial, and is the first step toward being able to prevent it," said lead researcher Anna Biehl, of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo.

According to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD), the number of children in general that struggle with excess weight is on the rise. They claim almost 1 in 3 children ages 5 to 11 are considered to be overweight or obese. The organization warns that weighing too much increases the chances that young people may develop some health problems, now and later in life.

"There are many reasons to care if your child is in the overweight or obese category. In the short run, he or she may develop joint pain and/or breathing problems," the NIDDKD explains in a statement on its website. "These health issues may make it hard to keep up with friends. Some children may develop obesity-related health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, because of excess weight."

Regarding the growing number of divorces in the U.S., a recent study done by the Barna Group claims that among adults who have been married, 33 percent have experienced at least one divorce.

Researchers found that the percentage of adults who have been married and divorced varies from segment to segment. According to the study's findings, the groups with the highest percentage of marriage ending in divorce are downscale adults (39 percent), baby boomers (38 percent), those aligned with a non-Christian faith (38 percent), African-Americans (36 percent), and people who consider themselves to be liberal on social and political matters (37 percent).

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