Warning: grandparents

| November 16, 2017

Grandparents – or, presumably, some grandparents – are a potential health hazard for children and may increase their risk of cancer, according to a story in the Irish Independent citing a new survey.

Some grandparents are said to spoil their grandchildren with sweet treats and big helpings of fattening food, and expose their lungs to second-hand tobacco smoke.

These 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 (Scotland), said that while the results of the review showed that behaviour such as smoking and regularly treating increased cancer risks as children grew into adulthood, it showed too that these risks were indulged unintentional.

“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,” said Chambers.

The researchers said that previous research had looked at the way parents could affect their children’s susceptibility to cancer and other diseases, but less attention had been paid to the role of part-time carers such as grandparents.

The Glasgow team analysed data from 56 studies undertaken in 18 countries.

Overall, grandparents were found to have an adverse effect – despite meaning well. In many cases, such as rewarding good behaviour with sweets, they were putting the health of their grandchildren at risk with kindness.

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Category: Breaking News, People

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