Tender love by mothers is the best medicine for kids as it can reduce a person's risk of developing conditions like diabetes, heart disease during adulthood, reveals study.
Researchers at Brandeis University in Boston examined 1,000 people from low-income backgrounds, which has been shown by a number of previous researches to be related to poorer health in later life and lower life expectancy.
AdvertisementThey found that some people from disadvantaged families managed to buck this trend - and they tended to have had a loving mother.
Participants were recruited at an average age of 46 and had a full health check in hospital.
They were asked about their mothers with questions such as 'how much did she understand your problems and worries?' and 'How much time and attention did she give you when you needed it?
A decade later half of the people had metabolic syndrome - a major risk factors for heart disease, strokes and diabetes.
They found people in the lowest socio-economic category, with neither parent having finished school, had the highest rate of this condition - half of them were affected and regardless of their social mobility in later life.
But although this high risk seemed to be 'embedded' from childhood, the researchers said, those who said their mothers were very nurturing were far less likely to have it.
Psychology professor Margie Lachman said events in childhood seem to leave a 'biological residue' on health during adult life.
"The fact that we can see these long-term effects from childhood into midlife is pretty dramatic," the Daily Mail quoted her as saying.
"We want to understand what it is about having a nurturing mother that allows you to escape the vulnerabilities of being in a low socioeconomic status background and wind up healthier than your counterparts," she said.
The study authors suggest it could be a combination of empathy, teaching children 'coping strategies' to deal with stress so it does not affect their health and encouraging them to eat well and live a healthy lifestyle.
Lachman said the information could help devise training for parents about coping with their child's stress, living a healthy lifestyle and having 'control over their destiny'.
The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.