Children, whose parents are divorced or not married but living together, are at a higher risk of obesity, a study has found.
"The emotional fallout of a divorce and resulting stress generated by disruptions in the parent-child relationship, ongoing conflict between the exes, moving home and the need to create new social networks, might also explain the findings," the authors suggested.
The researchers based their findings on a nationally representative sample of more than 3,000 children attending 127 schools across Norway.
All the children were part of the national 2010 Norwegian Child Growth Study.
Around 19 percent children were overweight or obese according to the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) definition.
Overall, significantly more of the 1537 girls were overweight or obese than the 1629 boys.
More of the children whose parents were categorised as divorced were overweight or obese than those whose parents remained married.
They were 54 percent more likely to be overweight/obese.
"Children whose parents had never married had a similar prevalence of overweight and obesity to those with married parents," the study's authors noted.
The differences were generally larger for boys whose parents were divorced. They were 63 percent more likely to be generally overweight/obese than boys whose parents were married.
The same pattern was seen among girls, but the associations were less marked and, unlike the boys, not statistically significant.
Possible explanations for the link could include less time spent on domestic tasks such as cooking, an over-reliance on unhealthy foods and lower household income, the study concluded.