obesity, offspring copy parents

Parental eating behaviour traits have been shown to be related to the adiposity of their young children. It is not known if this relationship persists in older offspring or whether rigid or flexible control are involved. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that parental eating behavior traits, as measured by the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ), are related to offspring body weight.

Cross-sectional anthropometric and TFEQ data from phase 2 and 3 of the Québec Family Study generated 192 parent–offspring dyads (offspring age range: 10–37 years). Relationships were adjusted for offspring age, sex and reported physical activity, number of offspring per family and parent body mass index (BMI).
In all parent–offspring pairings parental rigid control and disinhibition scores were positively related to offspring BMI (r=0.17, P=0.02; r=0.18, P<0.01, respectively).

There were no significant relationships between cognitive restraint (P=0.75) or flexible control (P=0.06) with offspring BMI.

Regression models revealed that parent disinhibition mediated the relationship between parent and offspring BMI, whereas rigid control of the parent moderated this relationship. The interaction effect between parental rigid control and disinhibition was a significant predictor of offspring BMI (β=0.13, P=0.05).

Conclusion: Family environmental factors, such as parental eating behaviour traits, are related to BMI of older offspring, and should be a focus in the prevention of obesity transmission within families.

A R Gallant  et al  in International Journal of Obesity (2013) 37, 1422–1426;
Parental eating behavior traits are related to offspring BMI in the Québec Family Study

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