NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Children often face emotional challenges when their parents divorce. Now, there is new research that shows that the breakup can affect the physical well being of a child.

As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, when parents get divorced, kids can face a number of struggles and one of them can be weight gain.

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“Parents are under stress. There’s only one parent to take care of all of the chores and demands that two parents previously were taking care of,” Psychiatrist, Dr. Judy Cohen explained, “There’s not always time to do all of those things as much as the parents would want to.”

Researchers in Norway looked at 3,000 third graders. Boys were 63 percent more likely to be obese if their parents were divorced, when compared to those whose parents were married.

“It’s possible that there are differences in stress hormones between boys and girls that could possibly account for how boys might respond with eating, girls might respond with anxiety or other kinds of problems,” Dr. Cohen said.

The study can’t show that divorce caused weight gain, but it can be a factor to consider when looking at risk.

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“We really want to think about what things change when children don’t have access to both of their parents, and really to proactively try to support these children and these families as much as possible,” Dr. Cohen explained.

The researchers did notice a similar weight pattern among girls with divorced parents, but said that the finding in girls may have been a coincidence.

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