The role of family and maternal factors in childhood obesity

Division of Population Sciences, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA.
The Medical journal of Australia (Impact Factor: 4.09). 07/2007; 186(11):591-5.
Source: PubMed


To investigate the relationship between a child's weight and a broad range of family and maternal factors.
Cross-sectional data from a population-based prospective study, collected between January 2004 and December 2005, for 329 children aged 6-13 years (192 healthy weight, 97 overweight and 40 obese) and their mothers (n=265) recruited from a paediatric hospital endocrinology department and eight randomly selected primary schools in Perth, Western Australia.
Height, weight and body mass index (BMI) of children and mothers; demographic information; maternal depression, anxiety, stress and self-esteem; general family functioning; parenting style; and negative life events.
In a multilevel model, maternal BMI and family structure (single-parent v two-parent families) were the only significant predictors of child BMI z scores.
Childhood obesity is not associated with adverse maternal or family characteristics such as maternal depression, negative life events, poor general family functioning or ineffective parenting style. However, having an overweight mother and a single-parent (single-mother) family increases the likelihood of a child being overweight or obese.

Download full-text


Available from: Stephen R Zubrick
    • "Linear regression analyses were conducted to examine predictors of parents' attitudes relevant to both product categories. Consistent with previous research on factors associated with parents' food choices and/or children's weight status (Gibson et al., 2007; Grier, Mensinger, Huang, Kumanyika, & Stettler, 2007), potential predictors included in the analyses were parent characteristics (gender, age, and education), family characteristics (number of children, age of children, family structure), perceived social norms relating to unhealthy foods, and children's pestering behaviours . In addition, parent exposure to television and advertising was assessed to provide an indicator of the family television environment , which has been linked to children's weight status (Notten, Kraaykamp, & Tolsma, 2013). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Effective health interventions rely on a detailed understanding of the target audience’s attitudes relevant to the desired behavioural change. In the context of obesity interventions targeting parents, understanding parents’ attitudes to unhealthy foods and beverages is necessary to overcome barriers to adopting recommended behaviours. The aim of the present study was to assess the factors influencing parents’ attitudes to unhealthy foods and beverages to identify potential elements to incorporate into future obesity prevention programs. A sample of 1302 parents responded to an online survey that assessed their perceptions of the two product categories of soft drinks and energy dense, nutrient poor (EDNP) foods. Overall, attitudes to these products were favourable, with perceived convenience and enjoyment receiving higher scores than value for money and health considerations. The results suggest that interventions designed to improve children’s diets should aim to enhance perceptions of the convenience and taste of healthier alternatives, while also addressing factors such as food advertising and child pestering that can influence parents’ attitudes to unhealthy products.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Food Quality and Preference
  • Source
    • "Some studies have found that family dysfunction is associated with greater BMI of children (Chen & Kennedy, 2004; Moens, Braet, & Soetens, 2007; Sousa, 2009). In contrast, Gibson et al. (2007) did not find a significant relationship between childhood obesity and poor family functioning. Parental feeding style refers to parents' approach to feeding their children, and it also affects children's eating styles and weight outcomes (Birch et al., 2001; Patrick, Nicklas, Hughes, & Morales, 2005). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine family factors related to BMI z-scores and overweight/obesity among Korean-American (KA) preschoolers. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 104 KA preschoolers and their mothers in the Chicago metropolitan area. KA mothers completed questionnaires and their preschool-age children's weights and heights were measured. Hierarchical multiple linear regression and multiple logistic regression were performed. Twenty-two percent of preschoolers were overweight or obese (BMI ≥85th percentile). Family factors explained 30% of the variance in the children's BMI z-scores, with parenting feeding style and family functioning contributing most. In logistic regression, children were more likely to be overweight/obese if: a family had more children, the mother perceived her child as overweight/obese, and the family had regular child routines. Health care providers should consider the family as one unit of care and use that unit to implement culturally appropriate childhood overweight/obesity prevention for Korean-American preschool-aged children. Parental feeding style and parents' attitudes about child weight should be considered when advising Korean-Americans about reducing children's overweight/obesity. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of pediatric nursing
  • Source
    • "Children were recruited from Perth primary schools and interviewed at baseline (Time 1), 1-year follow-up (Time 2), and 2-year follow-up (Time 3). Additional details of the GAD Study methodology, including detailed recruitment information, have been reported previously [38-40]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have found associations between maternal and family factors and child eating disorder symptoms. However, it is not clear whether family factors predict eating disorder symptoms specifically, or relate to more general child psychopathology, of which eating disorder symptoms may be one component. This study aimed to identify maternal and family factors that may predict increases or decreases in child eating disorder symptoms over time, accounting for children's body mass index z-scores and levels of general psychological distress. Participants were 221 mother-child dyads from the Childhood Growth and Development Study, a prospective cohort study in Western Australia. Participants were assessed at baseline, 1-year follow-up and 2-year follow-up using interview and self-report measures. Children had a mean age of 10 years at baseline and 46% were male. Linear mixed models and generalised estimating equations were used to identify predictors of children's eating disorder symptoms, with outcome variables including a global index of eating disorder psychopathology, levels of dietary restraint, levels of emotional eating, and the presence of loss of control ('binge') eating. Children of mothers with a current or past eating disorder reported significantly higher levels of global eating disorder symptoms and emotional eating than other children, and mothers with a current or past eating disorder reported significantly more concern about their children's weight than other mothers. Maternal concern about child weight, rather than maternal eating disorder symptoms, was significant in predicting child eating disorder symptoms over time. Family exposure to stress and low maternal education were additional risk factors for eating disorder symptoms, whilst child-reported family satisfaction was a protective factor. After adjusting for relevant confounding variables, maternal concern about child weight, children's level of family satisfaction, family exposure to stress, and maternal education are unique predictors of child eating disorder symptoms.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Journal of Eating Disorders
Show more