Parenting characteristics in the home environment and adolescent overweight: a latent class analysis

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Apr;18(4):818-25. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.324. Epub 2009 Oct 8.


Parenting style and parental support and modeling of physical activity and healthy dietary intake have been linked to youth weight status, although findings have been inconsistent across studies. Furthermore, little is known about how these factors co-occur, and the influence of the coexistence of these factors on adolescents' weight. This article examines the relationship between the co-occurrence of various parenting characteristics and adolescents' weight status. Data are from Project EAT (eating among teens), a population-based study of 4,746 diverse adolescents. Theoretical and latent class groupings of parenting styles and parenting practices were created. Regression analyses examined the relationship between the created variables and adolescents' BMI. Having an authoritarian mother was associated with higher BMI in sons. The co-occurrence of an authoritarian mother and neglectful father was associated with higher BMI for sons. Daughters' whose fathers did not model or encourage healthy behaviors reported higher BMIs. The co-occurrence of neither parent modeling healthy behaviors was associated with higher BMIs for sons, and incongruent parental modeling and encouraging of healthy behaviors was associated with higher BMIs in daughters. Although, further research into the complex dynamics of the home environment is needed, findings indicate that authoritarian parenting style is associated with higher adolescent weight status and incongruent parenting styles and practices between mothers and fathers are associated with higher adolescent weight status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Authoritarianism
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Child
  • Diet Surveys
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Overweight / etiology*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Environment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires