Abstract MP28: The Longitudinal Effects of Parenting Style on Childhood Obesity Risk: Evidence from a Representative Birth Cohort in Quebec
Background: Parenting style has been shown to be associated with children’s body mass index (BMI) in cross-sectional studies, but its influence on later weight status is less clear.
Objective: To assess the longitudinal association between parenting style measured at age 4 years and risk of childhood overweight/obesity from age 5 to 12 years in the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD) birth-cohort.
Methods: Participants were from the 1998-2010 QLSCD study (n=2,120), a representative sample of single-ton births born in Quebec in 1998. Parenting style when the child was four years of age was measured using 11 questions related to the parent’s interactions with the child. Factor analysis identified four parenting behaviours (reasons with child, permissive with child, responsive with child, and uses a firm approach for punishing the child) which were grouped into four parenting styles with cluster analysis. The four styles were consistent with Baumrind’s theory of authoritative (demanding and responsive), authoritarian (demanding but not responsive), permissive (responsive but not demanding), and negligent (not demanding and not responsive) parenting control prototypes. BMI at age 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12 years was calculated based on measured height and weight and overweight/obesity was operationalised according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention age- and sex- specific growth curves. Missing data were handled with multiple imputation and parameter estimates and standard errors from 50 imputed data sets were combined to produce single estimates. The risk of being overweight or obese was analyzed with generalized estimating equations with an unstructured error covariance and controlled for age, sex, highest parental educational achievement, single- vs. two-parent households, immigrant vs. Canadian-born mothers, and whether or not the household was below the low-income cut-off. All covariates (with the exception of maternal immigration status) were modeled as time-dependent. Parenting style was time-independent, but there was no evidence of a within-subject effect.
Results: Approximately one-third of the parents had an authoritative style (29%, 613 of 2120), 22% were permissive (463 of 2120), 27% were negligent (578 of 2120), and 22% (466 of 2120) were authoritarian. Compared to children from authoritative households, children from authoritarian, permissive, and negligent parents were 40% (95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 1.1, 1.7, p=0.002), 31%, (CI: 1.0, 1.6, p=0.02) and 17% (CI: 0.9, 1.4, p=0.15) more likely to be overweight or obese, respectively.
Conclusion: Parenting style from early childhood is associated with risk of overweight/obesity as the children enter early adolescence. Additional research investigating the processes through which parenting styles translate into higher risks of childhood overweight/obesity is needed.
Author Disclosures: L. Kakinami: None. T.A. Barnett: None. L. Gauvin: None. L. Séguin: None. G. Paradis: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.