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Appetite. 2003 Aug;41(1):43-50.

Parenting style and adolescent fruit consumption.

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  • 1Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, Universiteit Maastricht, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.


The importance of the social environment for dietary behaviour has been highlighted in the past decade. A type of environmental influence that has received increasing research attention in recent years is the influence that parents can have on their children's dietary behaviour through food-related parenting practices. Much of the work done so far, however, has reported inconsistent findings and poorly understood mechanisms of influence. The present study aimed to explore the possible environmental influence of general parenting style on adolescent food choice patterns. Data were collected at schools (N=643; mean age 16.5 years), using self-administered questionnaires on parenting style, fruit intake behaviour and fruit-specific cognitions. Consistent and theoretically predictable differences were found between adolescents who described their parents as authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent or neglectful. Fruit consumption and fruit-specific cognitions were most favourable among adolescents who were being raised with an authoritative parenting style. Children of parents with indulgent parenting styles consumed more fruit than adolescents from authoritarian or neglectful homes. Consequences of these results for the interpretation of earlier studies on the influence of parenting practices are discussed, and a research model is proposed for future studies of parental influences on adolescent dietary behaviours.

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