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

Date Published: 4/15

Abstract:

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

Method—Adolescents (N=2231) and their parents (N=3431) participated in two, coordinated, population-based studies designed to examine factors associated with weight and weight-related behaviors in adolescents.

Results—Overall, higher levels of pressure-to-eat or food restriction was 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≤0.01). Examination of the association between food-related parenting practices and disordered eating behaviors among girls revealed fewer significant associations. However, analyses did reveal 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=0.04).

Discussion—Study findings provide evidence of an association between controlling foodrelated parenting practices and adolescent disordered eating behaviors, particularly in boys. Future longitudinal research is needed to establish directionality of observed associations.

Authors:
Katie A. Loth, RD, MPH PhD [Candidate],
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
Richard F. MacLehose, PhD [Assistant Professor],
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
Jayne A. Fulkerson, PhD [Associate Professor],
School of Nursing, University of Minnesota
Scott Crow, MD [Professor], and
Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Director of Research, The Emily Program
Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, RD, MPH, PhD [Professor]
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

Download Full Paper: PDF (81kb)

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