Nonoverweight adolescents with nonoverweight parents endure more pressure to eat, whereas adolescents who are overweight with parents who are overweight endured more food restrictions, according to a recent study.
“When parents and adolescents are concordant on weight status, parents use more pressure-to-eat or food restriction practices,” Jerica M. Berge, PhD, MPH, of the department of family medicine and community health at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and colleagues wrote. “Additionally, results from the sub-analyses with two parent households showed that when both parents’ weight status and adolescent weight status were concordant, the parents engaged in the highest level of food restriction or pressure-to-eat.”
The researchers analyzed data from two linked population-based studies on eating behaviors: Eating and Activity in Teens 2010 and Families and Eating and Activity in Teens. These studies collected data from parents and adolescents, providing researchers with an ethnically diverse cohort of parents (n = 3,252) and teenagers (n = 2,153).
Study results showed that overweight parents of overweight teenagers implemented higher levels of food restriction, compared with nonconcordant and nonoverweight parent and teen pairings. The researchers noted, however, that overweight teens had high levels of exposure to food restrictions across all parent weight categories.
Data also indicated that nonoverweight parents applied significantly higher amounts of pressure to eat when their children also were nonoverweight. Likewise, nonoverweight children experienced high levels of pressure to eat across all parent weight categories.
The researchers said this information could be useful to professionals working with parents and children to help prevent or mitigate adolescent obesity.
“It may be helpful to take into account parent and adolescent weight status when intervening with parents regarding feeding practices,” Berge and colleagues wrote. – by David Costill
The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures