The prevalence of overweight and obesity is a serious health issue among children and adolescents worldwide. This study aimed to investigate factors influencing weight status-associated food preferences and eating behaviors. A cross-sectional study was conducted to collect data from 2578 pairs of Chinese children and parents in five cities from December 2018 to March 2019. There was an increase in consumptions of processed seafood, nuts and dried fruit/vegetables, and fruit/vegetable juice, but a reduction of consuming puffed and processed meat products, sugar/artificially sweetened beverages and milk tea, and picky eating. These food preferences differentiate between sexes. Picky eating behavior was greatly presented in children of lower educated mothers or heavy-smoking fathers. Children of the lower educated fathers consumed less processed seafood and dairy products, and those of the heavy-smoking fathers consumed more puffed products, but less fruit/vegetable juice, and had greater snack preference. The father’s body mass index(BMI)status was also positively associated with unhealthy behaviors. Those who exercised daily longer showed better eating behaviors, and picky eating and fast-food lovers likely occurred in higher-income families. Our study provides an insight into that fathers being educated for health-conscious advice and physical activity may be the potential strategies to foster their children’s healthy eating patterns. Their efficacy needs to be further investigated.
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