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Int J Pediatr Obes. 2010 Dec;5(6):491-500. doi: 10.3109/17477160903497001. Epub 2010 Mar 17.

Family links of eating behaviour in normal weight and overweight children.

Author information

Child and Adolescent Public Health Epidemiology Group, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.



To map parent-child associations for eating behaviours including both parents and considering body size and sex as moderators.


In this study 1258 Swedish families (mother, father and their 12-year-old child) had eating behaviour measured by the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire covering restrained, emotional and external eating.


Most parent-child associations for eating behaviours were significant in relation to the mother and the father. The strongest associations were seen for external eating. Overweight children had a stronger parental link for external eating than normal weight children, and higher levels of restrained eating. The only moderating effect seen for the child's sex was a stronger mother-son link for external eating in normal weight boys. Girls had higher levels of restrained eating, and boys had higher levels of external eating.


Most family links for eating behaviour in pre-adolescents are seen in relation to both parents and for daughters and sons alike. In particular, eating in response to external food cues is most strongly shared by parents and children, and overweight children are more likely to adopt their parents' external eating.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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