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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(4), 1411-1426;

Parenting Styles and Home Obesogenic Environments

Nutrition and Wellness Research Center, Department of Kinesiology, Iowa State University, Suite 6100, 2325 North Loop Drive, Ames, IA 50011, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 January 2012 / Revised: 8 February 2012 / Accepted: 9 February 2012 / Published: 16 April 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Obesity: Prevention and Treatment)
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Parenting behaviors are known to have a major impact on childhood obesity but it has proven difficult to isolate the specific mechanism of influence. The present study uses Baumrind’s parenting typologies (authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive) to examine associations between parenting styles and parenting practices associated with childhood obesity. Data were collected from a diverse sample of children (n = 182, ages 7–10) in an urban school district in the United States. Parenting behaviors were assessed with the Parenting Styles and Dimension Questionnaire (PSDQ), a 58-item survey that categorizes parenting practices into three styles: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. Parent perceptions of the home obesogenic environment were assessed with the Family Nutrition and Physical Activity (FNPA) instrument, a simple 10 item instrument that has been shown in previous research to predict risk for overweight. Cluster analyses were used to identify patterns in the PSDQ data and these clusters were related to FNPA scores and measured BMI values in children (using ANCOVA analyses that controlled for parent income and education) to examine the impact of parenting styles on risk of overweight/obesity. The FNPA score was positively (and significantly) associated with scores on the authoritative parenting scale (r = 0.29) but negatively (and significantly) associated with scores on the authoritarian scale (r = −0.22) and permissive scale (r = −0.20). Permissive parenting was significantly associated with BMIz score but this is the only dimension that exhibited a relationship with BMI. A three-cluster solution explained 40.5% of the total variance and clusters were distinguishable by low and high z-scores on different PSDQ sub-dimensions. A cluster characterized as Permissive/Authoritarian (Cluster 2) had significantly lower FNPA scores (more obesogenic) than clusters characterized as Authoritative (Cluster 1) or Authoritarian/Authoritative (Cluster 3) after controlling for family income and parent education. No direct effects of cluster were evident on the BMI outcomes but the patterns were consistent with the FNPA outcomes. The results suggest that a permissive parenting style is associated with more obesogenic environments while an authoritative parenting style is associated with less obesogenic environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: children; parenting style; home environment; obesity children; parenting style; home environment; obesity

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Johnson, R.; Welk, G.; Saint-Maurice, P.F.; Ihmels, M. Parenting Styles and Home Obesogenic Environments. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 1411-1426.

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