General parenting, childhood overweight and obesity-inducing behaviors: a review

Int J Pediatr Obes. 2011 Jun;6(2-2):e12-27. doi: 10.3109/17477166.2011.566339. Epub 2011 Jun 9.


Despite emerging efforts to investigate the influence parents have on their children's weight status and related dietary and activity behaviors, reviews regarding the role of general parenting are lacking. We performed a systematic review regarding the relationship between general parenting and these weight-related outcomes to guide observational research. In total, 36 studies were included. Discrepancies across studies were found, which may be explained by differences in conceptualization of parenting constructs. Overall, however, results suggest that children raised in authoritative homes ate more healthy, were more physically active and had lower BMI levels, compared to children who were raised with other styles (authoritarian, permissive/indulgent, uninvolved/neglectful). Findings of some moderation studies indicate that general parenting has a differential impact on children's weight-related outcomes, depending on child and parental characteristics. These findings underline the importance of acknowledging interactions between general parenting and both child and parent characteristics, as well as behavior-specific parenting practices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Overweight / prevention & control
  • Overweight / psychology*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior