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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Obesity and Metabolism Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #373987

Research Project: Improving Public Health by Understanding Metabolic and Bio-Behavioral Effects of Following Recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Location: Obesity and Metabolism Research

Title: Pathways of parental influence on adolescent diet and obesity: A physiological stress-focused perspective

item DIMITRATOS, SARAH - University Of California, Davis
item SWARTZ, JOHNNA - University Of California, Davis
item Laugero, Kevin

Submitted to: Nutrition Reviews
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/9/2022
Publication Date: 2/9/2022
Citation: Dimitratos, S.M., Swartz, J.R., Laugero, K.D. 2022. Pathways of parental influence on adolescent diet and obesity: A physiological stress-focused perspective. Nutrition Reviews. 80(70):1800-1810. Article nuac004.

Interpretive Summary: The role of parental stress on adolescent diet quality has received considerable attention in recent years, given that stress is a known risk factor for emotional eating and obesogenic eating behaviors in both adults and youth; however, pathways underlying this phenomenon are not well understood. This perspective on emerging science addresses various pathways by which parents influence adolescent eating behavior, with stress being a primary pathway. We employ a biopsychosocial framework to synthesize current research describing pathways by which the parent, and especially parent stress, influences eating behavior of adolescents, highlighting the need for further attention to this emerging research area. This work has the potential to inform novel intervention strategies for adolescent obesity targeted at parent stress.

Technical Abstract: Youth obesity has become increasingly prevalent, with 34.5% of U.S. 12-19-year-olds estimated to be overweight or obese. Disordered eating and weight concern peaks in adolescence, and overeating to cope with negative emotions can affect long-term health and obesity risk. Parents significantly influence adolescent diet quality, and parental stress may increase risk for stress-motivated eating and obesity in adolescents. Chronic or repeated exposure to parental stress may lead to stress-related neurophysiological changes that promote consumption of palatable foods and obesogenic eating habits in adolescents. Understanding how parental stress influences adolescent eating behavior may reveal novel access points for reducing adolescent obesity. Herein, we employ a biopsychosocial framework to discuss pathways through which parenting may affect adolescent diet, with stress being a primary focus.