Journal of Community Health

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 1233–1239 | Cite as

Associations Between Parental BMI and the Family Nutrition and Physical Activity Environment in a Community Sample

  • Joel E. Williams
  • Brian Helsel
  • Sarah F. Griffin
  • Jessica Liang
Original Paper


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between parental BMI and the family environment and determine if differences exist in child diet and physical activity related parenting behaviors by parental BMI in a community sample of families recruited through elementary schools in a local school district. We found an association between parental BMI category and family nutrition and physical activity (FNPA) score. Families with an underweight or normal weight parent had a larger proportion (64.3%) of high (indicating a healthier family environment) FNPA scores and families with an overweight or obese parent had a smaller proportion (45.2%) of high FNPA scores (χ 2 = 5.247, P = 0.022). Families with a parent who was overweight or obese had 2.18 times the odds (95% CI 1.11–4.27) of being in the low FNPA (“less healthy” environment) group. Further, underweight/normal weight parents reported higher levels of monitoring of child diet (Z = −3.652, P < 0.0001), higher levels of parental monitoring of child physical activity (Z = −3.471, p < 0.001), and higher levels of parental limit setting related to child sedentary activities compared to overweight/obese parents (Z = −2.443, P = 0.01). Parent BMI and parenting behaviors are known to have a major impact on childhood obesity. In this study, lower parent BMI and authoritative parenting behaviors were associated with a less obesogenic home environment and a positive parenting style related to child eating and physical activity behaviors.


Parenting Body mass index Physical activity Diet Obesity 



This study is the result of unfunded independent research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

IRB: The Clemson University Institutional Review Board approved the study protocol.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joel E. Williams
    • 1
  • Brian Helsel
    • 1
  • Sarah F. Griffin
    • 1
  • Jessica Liang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Health SciencesClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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