Parental influences on children's eating behavior and relative weight

J Appl Behav Anal. 1983 Winter;16(4):371-8. doi: 10.1901/jaba.1983.16-371.


We investigated the relationship between selected parent behaviors, child mealtime behavior, and infant relative weight. Subjects were 7 male and 7 female children varying in age from 12 to 30 months (mean = 23.9 months). Each subject and parents were observed during the dinnertime meal on two occasions using the BATMAN (Bob and Tom's Method of Assessing Nutrition). The children spent 58% of the mealtime eating. They spent very little time making active decisions about what and how much they ate (food requests = 2% of the time; food refusals = 1% of the time). We found significant correlations between child relative weight and (a) parental prompts to eat (r = .81, p less than .001), (b) parental food offers (r = .51, p less than .05), and (c) parental encouragement to eat (r = .82, p less than .001). Thus, the present study suggests a relationship between certain parental variables and the relative weight of their children.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight*
  • Child Behavior*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Parents*