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Parent and child factors associated with youth obesity

Gisèle Carrière

This article investigates behaviours, circumstances and parental characteristics that relate to obesity in adolescents. Differences between boys and girls, which may reflect gender-specific social pressures and responses to such pressures, are also explored.


  • In 2000/01, boys were twice as likely as girls to be obese, even though they were more likely to have reported being physically active.

  • Girls who were former smokers had higher odds of obesity than their non-smoking counterparts.

  • Health behaviours of both boys and girls were associated with those of the responding parent, and for boys only, those with a parent who smoked had higher odds for obesity.

  • Parental obesity was strongly associated with youth obesity.

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