Are food restriction and pressure-to-eat parenting practices associated with adolescent disordered eating behaviors?


Correspondence to: Katie A. Loth, RD, MPH, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. E-mail:



To examine associations between parental pressure-to-eat and food restriction and adolescent disordered eating behaviors, within a sample of parent–adolescent pairs.


Adolescents (N = 2,231) and their parents (N = 3,431) participated in two, coordinated, population-based studies designed to examine factors associated with weight and weight-related behaviors in adolescents.


Overall, higher levels of pressure-to-eat or food restriction were significantly and positively associated with use of disordered eating behaviors among boys. For every one unit increase [Scale Range: 1 (low control) to 4 (high control)] in mothers' food restriction, boys were twice as likely to engage in extreme weight control behaviors (p ≤ .01). Examination of the association between food-related parenting practices and disordered eating behaviors among girls revealed fewer significant associations. However, analyses revealed that for every one unit increase in mothers' food restriction, girls were 1.33 times more likely to engage in extreme weight control behaviors (p = .04).


Study findings provide evidence of an association between controlling food-related parenting practices and adolescent disordered eating behaviors, particularly in boys. Future longitudinal research is needed to establish directionality of observed associations. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:310–314)