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Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2011 Nov;13(11):783-94. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Family food behaviours and adolescents' overweight status: a mother-offspring link study.

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  • 1School of Health and Nutrition, Shiraz University of Medical Science, Shiraz, Iran.



The role of family food behaviours on weight status of family members is not well understood. The objective of this study was to examine the influence of some aspects of family food behaviours on adolescents overweight.


In a cross-sectional mother-child-linked study design, participants were a subsample of 3862 adolescents (51.9% boys) from the Mater hospital-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP), a longitudinal study of a birth cohort of 7,223 women and their offspring. Information on aspects of family food behaviours (family meal patterns and influences, frequency of family food consumption, and influences on family food selection) was collected by self reported questionnaires from mothers in a 14 years follow up (in 1994-1997) and other covariates at different stages of follow-ups. Body Mass Index of the adolescents was calculated using measured height and weight.


Being overweight at 14 years had significant negative associations with mothers' report on the importance of family meals (OR=1.28), frequency of eating cake/biscuits (OR=1.71), and significant positive association with mothers' report on frequency of consumption of cooked vegetables (OR=1.32), soft drinks (OR=1.60) and importance of fattening of foods (OR=1.27).


The study confirmed the importance of the family and some family food behaviours in shaping risk of being overweight amongst adolescents. Because of the cross-sectional nature of this study, we could not conclude that they had casual correlations. Comparison with the literature suggests that some of these effects may be specific to particular contexts, potentially affected by cultural and socio-economic differences.


Adolescence; Family eating; Food behavior; Food choice; Overweight

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