To identify potential nursing interventions for obesity in lower socioeconomic status populations, the relationships between maternal and child obesity, socioeconomic status, maternal nutritional knowledge, and locus of control for maternal weight in 144 children and their mothers were studied. Subjects were recruited from two clinic populations; Clinic 1 was of lower socioeconomic status than Clinic 2. As compared with those from Clinic 2, mothers from Clinic 1 were heavier, had less nutritional knowledge, and were more external with respect to locus of weight control. There was a trend for Clinic 1 children to be heavier than those in Clinic 2 but this finding was not statistically significant. The lower socioeconomic status children significantly resembled their mothers' adiposity (possibly foreshadowing adult obesity), however, the middle socioeconomic status children did not resemble their mothers.