A recent study by Norwegian researchers published in the BMJ Open (link) showed correlation between parental marital status and childhood obesity. The researchers discovered that children of divorced parents had an 89% higher prevalence of abnormal obesity than children of married parents. This trend was particularly true for boys.
The researchers noted that this correlation doesn’t imply causation. However, the lifestyle changes which can result from a divorce—particularly a nasty one (decreased cash availability leading to lack of money for proper nutrition and care, parents difficult schedules preventing adequate oversight for children’s choices, stress resulting in decreased activity/nutrition, etc.)—can have devastating health consequences for the whole family.
Research shows that HOW a couple divorces, rather then the divorce itself, has an impact on children. This is why I have dedicated my practice to healthier options for divorce— my goal is to make divorce a new, healthier beginning for everyone, rather than the end of the family. Children so badly need support and nurturing. It can be difficult for many parents to set aside their differences and see through the pain and frustration of a divorce to put their children at the forefront and really consider the consequences of their actions. This is why I urge everyone I consult with who has children (even if the Collaborative Divorce Process is not an option) to consider working with a mental health professional to help identify and practice strategies for better communication and neutralization of issues to keep things as civil as possible when moving forward as co-parents.