Household, Parent, and Child Contributions to Childhood Obesity


  • Sara Gable,

    Corresponding author
    1. Sara Gable, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor and State Extension Specialist for the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
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  • Susan Lutz

    1. Susan Lutz, Ph.D., R.D., is a Registered Dietitian and Adjunct Assistant Professor for the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
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  • *This project was made possible with funding provided by the University of Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station and the Margaret Flynn Award in Dietetic Research. We would like to thank Sibyl Cox for help with data analysis and, most especially, the parents and children who participated in the study. Portions of this research were presented at the annual meeting of the American Dietetics Association, Kansas City, MO (October, 1998).

**Address correspondence to: Sara Gable, Human Development and Family Studies Extension, 306 Gentry Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211-7700; (573) 882-4628; e-mail:


Ongoing increases in adult and child obesity have become a serious public health concern. The current study of 65 parent-child pairs uses parent-completed surveys and child Body Mass Index (BMI) to portray the potential family processes that put children at risk and to illustrate the household environment, parenting beliefs, and child characteristics of obese and non-obese children. Results suggest that efforts to curb childhood obesity should address improving parent knowledge of child nutrition and reducing child television viewing.