Children of authoritative parents eat nutritious food
An authoritative parenting style is associated with more frequent family meals, researchers from the University of Minnesota have found.
Their data further indicated that family meals have a positive influence on adolescents to eat a healthy diet.
With a basis in whether parents are responsive and/or demanding, parenting style can be divided into four types: authoritative,
authoritarian, permissive, and neglectful. Parents who were empathic and respectful, but who maintained clear boundaries and expectations,
were classified as authoritative. Authoritarian parents maintained strict discipline and showed little warmth.
The permissive style was empathic but with few rules, while the neglectful style was emotionally uninvolved with no rules or expectations.
`Although further research is needed, results suggest that it is important for dietitians and other health care providers to reinforce
authoritative parenting styles in order to increase the likelihood of occurrence of family meals,` according to lead investigator Jerica M.
The authors used survey data from Project EAT (Eating Among Teens), in which two groups of adolescents (1608 middle school and 3074 high
school students) completed surveys in 1999 and 2004 regarding eating habits, parental styles, and various socioeconomic variables.
Cross-sectional results for adolescent girls indicated a positive association between maternal and paternal authoritative parenting style
and frequency of family meals.
For adolescent boys, maternal authoritative parenting style was associated with more frequent family meals. Longitudinal results indicated
that authoritative parenting style predicted higher frequency of family meals five years later, but only between mothers and sons or between
fathers and daughters.