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Parents’ Food Practices Can Affect Children’s Weight Status

​Are parents’ practices related to food intake associated with adolescent’s weight status?

The study, “Food-Related Parenting Practices and Adolescent Weight Status: A Population-Based Study,” in the May 2013 Pediatrics (published online April 22) found that the use of controlling food-related parenting practices, including food restriction and pressure-to-eat, were common among parents of adolescents.

Food restriction was more commonly reported by parents of overweight or obese adolescents, while pressure-to-eat feeding practices were more commonly used by parents of non-overweight teens. In addition, fathers were more likely than mothers to use pressure-to-eat feeding practices and adolescent boys were more likely than adolescent girls to be on the receiving end of pressure-to-eat. The use of food restriction practices did not vary by parent or adolescent gender.

The authors conclude that instead of using food restriction or pressure-to-eat parenting practices, parents of adolescents should be encouraged to use behaviors known to protect against unhealthy weight gain. These protective behaviors include eating regular meals as a family, making nutritious foods readily available in the home, modeling healthy food choices and encouraging teens’ autonomy in self-regulation of food intake.


4/22/2013 12:00 AM