Relationship between Family Racial/Ethnic Backgrounds, Parenting Practices and Styles, and Adolescent Eating Behaviors


Lillie Monroe-Lord, Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC 20008, USA.
Alex Anderson, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.
Blake L. Jones, Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA.
Rickelle Richards, Department of Nutrition, Dietetics & Food Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA.
Marla Reicks, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.
Carolyn Gunther, Human Nutrition Program, Department of Human Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.
Jinan Banna, Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.
Glade L. Topham, Department of Applied Human Sciences, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA.
Karina R. Lora, Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA.
Siew Sun Wong, School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, Nutrition, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
Miriam Ballejos, Nutrition & Exercise Physiology, Washington State University, 412 E. Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA 99202, USA.
Laura Hopkins, Department of Public Health and Prevention Sciences, Baldwin Wallace University, 275 Eastland Rd., Berea, OH 44017, USA.
Azam Ardakani, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Howard University, Washington, DC 20059, USA.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



International journal of environmental research and public health








adolescent eating behavior; adolescent–parent dyads; dairy; fruits and vegetables; parenting practices; race/ethnicity; unhealthy snacks


Obesity is more prevalent among racial minority children in the United States, as compared to White children. Parenting practices can impact the development of children's eating behaviors and habits. In this study, we investigated the relationships among racial/ethnic backgrounds, parenting practices and styles, and eating behaviors in adolescents. Fifty-one parent-adolescent dyads were interviewed to characterize parenting practices and styles, as well as the consumption of dairy, fruits and vegetables, and unhealthy snacks. Height and weight were measured to calculate parent BMI and adolescent BMI-for-age percentiles. Three parenting practice categories-modeling, authoritative, and authoritarian-were found to be related to race/ethnicity. A higher score in authoritarian parenting practices was related to higher BMI percentiles among African American adolescents, whereas a higher score in monitoring practices was related to lower BMI percentiles among non-Hispanic White adolescents. Modeling, reasoning, and monitoring led to higher consumption of fruits and vegetables among adolescents; however, the consumption of unhealthy snacks was higher with rule-setting and lower with reasoning and authoritative practices. Finally, an analysis of the relationships between environmental factors and snack intake showed that adolescents consumed significantly more unhealthy snacks when performing other activities while eating. In conclusion, the findings from this study suggest that families' racial heritages are related to their parenting practices, BMI percentiles, and their adolescents' food consumption and eating behaviors. The results of this study can be used to develop and improve adolescent nutrition education and interventions with consideration of their racial/ethnic backgrounds.


Exercise and Nutrition Sciences