Longitudinal and secular trends in parental encouragement for healthful eating, physical activity, and dieting throughout the adolescent years
Published Date:Feb 18 2011
Source:J Adolesc Health. 2010; 49(3):306-311.
Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
Feeding And Eating Disorders
Pubmed Central ID:PMC3401949
Funding:K07 CA 126837/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
K07 CA126837/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
R40 MC 00319/PHS HHS/United States
T01-DP000112/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
Parental encouragement of healthful eating and physical activity has been found to be associated with adolescents’ long-term healthful habits, while parental encouragement to diet has been associated with disordered eating behaviors among adolescents. However, little is known about how parental encouragement changes as adolescents grow older (longitudinal trends), or how parental encouragement has changed over time (secular trends). This study examined 5-year longitudinal and secular trends in adolescents’ report of their parents’ encouragement to eat healthfully, be physically active, and diet.
Project EAT surveyed a cohort of Minnesota adolescents (n=2516) in 1999 and 2004. Mixed-model regressions were used to assess changes in adolescents’ report of parental encouragement from early to middle adolescence (middle school to high school) and from middle to late adolescence (high school to post-high school), and secular changes in parental encouragement among middle adolescents between 1999 and 2004.
There were significant decreases in parental encouragement to eat healthfully, be active, and diet between early and middle adolescence. Between middle and late adolescence, among males parental encouragement for all behaviors decreased while among females parental encouragement to diet increased. Few secular changes in parental encouragement were observed between 1999 and 2004.
Given the importance of parental support for healthful eating and physical activity, efforts should be made to help parents maintain a high level of encouragement for their children's healthful behavior throughout adolescence. Parents of late-adolescent females should aim to decrease the pressure on their daughters to diet during these critical developmental years.
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