Unfavourable family characteristics and their associations with childhood obesity: A cross-sectional study




This cross-sectional study explores the influence of multiple familial factors on children's weight status and the interaction between parenting stress and unfavourable family characteristics.


A total of 197 families with children between 6 and 14 years participated in this study. Of this group, 97 families had a child with normal weight and 100 families had a child with overweight. Parents reported on seven family factors (maternal BMI, number of children, family structure, socioeconomic position, life events, parental psychopathology and parenting stress).


Families with overweight children experience more parenting stress. A regression analysis revealed that familial factors explain 27% in the variance in child's weight status. The hypothesis that a combination of familial factors will be more able to explain child's adiposity could not be confirmed.


Familial factors have moderate ability to predict children's weight status. There is a need to identify other familial mechanisms taking into account developmental and temporal evolutions over the past decade. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.