Do children and their parents eat a similar diet? Resemblance in child and parental dietary intake: systematic review and meta-analysis
- 1Center for Human Nutrition, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
- 2National Institute on Aging, NIA/NIH/IRP, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
- 3Department of Pediatrics, University School of Health Sciences, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
- Correspondence to Youfa Wang, Center for Human Nutrition, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA;
Contributors Youfa Wang contributed to study design, data collection and analysis, results interpretation, write up and revision of paper, obtaining funding support and administration; May Beydoun, study design, data collection and analysis, results interpretation, write up and revision of the paper; Ji Li and Yinghui Liu, data collection and revision of the paper; and Luis Moreno, data collection and revision of the paper.
- Accepted 23 December 2009
- Published Online First 4 November 2010
Objectives Parents are believed to have a strong influence on children's eating behaviours. However, previous findings on child–parent resemblance in dietary intakes are mixed. We systematically reviewed and meta-analysed the association (correlations) based on published studies.
Methods We searched related studies published since 1980 and found 24 studies meeting inclusion criteria for review and 15 for meta-regression analysis. We compared the associations between parent–child pairs, nutrients, over time and by dietary assessment method.
Results Most studies were based on small samples. Overall, they suggest a moderate or weak association, but findings varied remarkably. Our meta-analysis showed that average Fisher's transformed correlations were 0.20 (95% CI 0.13 to 0.28) for fat (% energy); for energy, 0.21 (0.18 to 0.24). The correlations varied by parent–child pairs, dietary assessment and countries. Food frequency questionnaires or mixed approaches yielded lower correlation than 24-h recalls or food records. Child self-reported intakes showed weaker correlation and better methodology quality showed stronger correlation in fat intake (% energy), which also became weaker over time.
Conclusions Overall, the resemblance is weak, and it varied considerably across studies, nutrients, foods and parent–child pairs.
- child health
- international health
Funding The study was supported in part by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD, 1R03HD058077-01A1, R03HD058077-01A1S1), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK, R01DK81335-01A1), and the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.