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J Adolesc Health. 2010 Apr;46(4):331-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.08.004.

Parenting style as a predictor of adolescent weight and weight-related behaviors.

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Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.



Current research indicates that specific parenting styles are associated with adolescent overweight, dietary intake, and physical activity; but most of the research has been cross-sectional, making it difficult to determine the temporal order of these associations. The current study adds to the previous research by examining 5-year longitudinal associations between parenting style and adolescent weight and weight-related behaviors.


Data from Project EAT, a population-based study with adolescents from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, were used. Adolescents (N = 2,516) from 31 Minnesota schools completed in-class assessments in 1999 (Time 1) and mailed surveys in 2004 (Time 2). Multiple linear regression models were used to predict mean levels of adolescent outcomes at Time 2 from parenting style at Time 1.


Time 1 maternal authoritative parenting style predicted lower body mass index in adolescent sons and daughters at Time 2. Time 1 paternal permissive parenting style predicted more fruits and vegetables intake in daughters at Time 2. Significant associations were not found between parenting style and adolescent physical activity.


Findings suggest that authoritative parenting style may play a protective role related to adolescent overweight and that the dimension of warmth and/or caring in the parent-adolescent relationship may be important in relation to female adolescent healthy dietary intake. Further exploration of opposite sex parent-adolescent dyad patterns related to parenting style and adolescent weight and weight-related behaviors is warranted.

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