Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy children grow up to be wealthy

This seems an unusually well-controlled study so the conclusions are  probably correct. 

There is an elephant in the room, however.  All the evidence suggests that happiness is a stable disposition.  You are born happy or miserable as the case may be and you stay at pretty much that level.  Neither you nor anybody else can do much to change it

Happy children are more likely to grow up to be wealthy adults, according to new research.

A data analysis of 15,000 young adults in the U.S. by economists at University College London, revealed that those who reported higher levels of life satisfaction, went on to receive larger paychecks than their gloomy counterparts.

This is due to the fact that people with sunny dispositions are more likely to be outgoing, finish a degree, secure work and get promoted quicker.

It marks the first time a link between happiness and income has been investigated in depth.

Results found that even a one-point increase in life satisfaction - on a scale of five - at the age of 22 led to almost $2,000 higher earnings per annum seven years on.

Co-author of the study, Dr Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, said: 'These findings have important implications for academics, policy makers, and the general public.

'For academics they reveal the strong possibility for reverse causality between income and happiness - a relationship that most have assumed unidirectional and causal.

'For policy makers, they highlight the importance of promoting general well-being, not just because happiness is what the general population aspires to but also for its economic impact.'

Dr De Neve, who worked with Professor Andrew Oswald from the University of Warwick, added that the findings show how the well-being of a child is key to future success.

He urged parents to create and maintain emotionally healthy home environments.

However findings highlighted that there are a range of factors outside of the home that cannot be controlled by guardians, as siblings often reported different emotions.

The study took into account the education, physical health, genetic variation, IQ, self-esteem and current happiness of subjects.

It appears in the November 19 edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Children who go to nursery are 50% more likely to be overweight than those cared for by their parents

But why?  This time the researchers are honest enough to admit that nobody knows.  But I have a tentative suggestion.  Attending  daycare is known to elevate cortisol levels among little children, suggesting increased anxiety.  And eating is sometimes an anxiety response.

If working parents didn't feel guilty enough about leaving their children at nursery, now new research has found daycare could encourage obesity.

Researchers found school pupils are 50 per cent more likely to be overweight if they attended nursery regularly compared to those who stayed at home with their parents. Even leaving a child with a relative significantly increased the risk of obesity.

Study leader Dr Marie-Claude Geoffroy, from the University of Montreal, said: 'We found that children whose primary care arrangement between 1.5 and four years was in daycare-centre or with an extended family member were around 50 per cent more likely to be overweight or obese between the ages of four and 10 years compared to those cared for at home by their parents.'

'This difference cannot be explained by known risk factors such as socioeconomic status of the parents, breastfeeding, body mass index of the mother, or employment status of the mother.'

The researchers said the reasons for the difference in weight is not yet known but unhealthy meals and lack of exercise could play a part.

'Diet and physical activity are avenues to follow,' says Dr Sylvana Côté, who co-directed the study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

'Parents don't have to worry; however, I suggest to parents they ensure their children eat well and get enough physical activity, whether at home or at daycare.'

The team studied 1,649 families with children born in 1997-1998 in Québec. Mothers were interviewed about the care of their children at 1.5 years, 2.5 years, 3.5 years, and four years.

The children were classified according to the type of care in which they had spent the most total hours, be it a daycare centre, a family member, nanny or parents.

During the six years that followed, the researchers measured the children's weight and height. The results flagged up the notable weight difference between youngsters cared for by their parents compared to others.

The researchers said daycare had the potential to reduce weight problems in children through the promotion of physical activity and healthy eating.

Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, said: ‘There can be a big difference between the nutrients children are supposed to get in daycare and what they actually get.'


No comments: