Family Food Behaviours and Adolescents’ Overweight Status: A Mother-Offspring Link Study


Siavash Babajafari 1 , * , GC Marks 2 , AA Mamun 2 , MJ O’Callaghan 3 , JM Najman 2

1 Department of Nutrition, School of Health and Nutrition, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, P O Box: 71645-111, Shiraz, Iran

2 The University of Queensland, School of Population Health, Qld 4006, Australia

3 Mater Children’s Hospital, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

How to Cite: Babajafari S, Marks G, Mamun A, O’Callaghan M, Najman J. Family Food Behaviours and Adolescents’ Overweight Status: A Mother-Offspring Link Study, Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2011 ; 13(11):e95927.


Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal: 13 (11); e95927
Published Online: November 30, 2011
Article Type: Research Article
Received: July 02, 2019
Accepted: November 30, 2011




Background: The role of family food behaviours on weight status of family members is not well understood.  The objective of this study was to examine the influence of some aspects of family food behaviours on adolescents overweight.


Method: In a cross-sectional mother-child-linked study design, participants were a subsample of 3862 adolescents (51.9% boys) from the Mater hospital-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP), a longitudinal study of a birth cohort of 7,223 women and their offspring. Information on aspects of family food behaviours (family meal patterns and influences, frequency of family food consumption, and influences on family food selection) was collected by self reported questionnaires from mothers in a 14 years follow up (in 1994-1997) and other covariates at different stages of follow-ups. Body Mass Index of the adolescents was calculated using measured height and weight.


Results: Being overweight at 14 years had significant negative associations with mothers’ report on the importance of family meals (OR=1.28), frequency of eating cake/biscuits (OR=1.71), and significant positive association with mothers’ report on frequency of consumption of cooked vegetables (OR=1.32), soft drinks (OR=1.60) and importance of fattening of foods (OR=1.27).


Conclusion: The study confirmed the importance of the family and some family food behaviours in shaping risk of being overweight amongst adolescents. Because of the cross-sectional nature of this study, we could not conclude that they had casual correlations. Comparison with the literature suggests that some of these effects may be specific to particular contexts, potentially affected by cultural and socio-economic differences. 


Family eating Food behavior Food choice Adolescence Overweight

© 2011, Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.


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