Parent and child factors associated with youth obesity

Health Rep. 2003;14 Suppl:29-39.


Objectives: This article examines relationships between parent and adolescent weight, as well as other selected characteristics and health behaviours of both, and then explores which factors are associated with youth obesity.

Data source: The analysis is based on cross-sectional household data from cycle 1.1 of the 2000/01 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), conducted by Statistics Canada. The sample comprises 4,803 girls and 4,982 boys who were aged 12 to 19 in 2000/01.

Analytical techniques: Estimates of body mass index (BMI) were calculated and selected health behaviours were evaluated for adolescents and a parent who lived in the same household. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with youth obesity while controlling for age of the youth and the sex of the reporting parent.

Main results: For both sexes, having an obese parent greatly increased the odds for youth obesity. Among girls, former smokers had higher odds for obesity, but smoking behaviour was not associated with obesity for boys. For boys, being physically inactive or even moderately active increased the odds of obesity. And if the responding parent smoked daily, this increased the odds of obesity for boys.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors