Parenting styles and the associated health outcomes in children
Several studies over the last decade have provided data linking child health outcomes and eating behaviors to parenting styles. Because childhood obesity continues to be an issue in the United States, and obesity is a major contributor to the development of comorbidities, many researchers have conducted studies that aim to identify environmental variables that may impact health outcomes in children. The purpose of this review of literature was to identify which parenting styles were associated with positive or negative child health outcomes, and which behaviors exhibited by these parenting styles affect health outcomes. The four parenting styles: authoritative, permissive, authoritarian, and uninvolved, can be distinguished by the amount of nurturing and demandingness each display. Studies that examined parenting styles, specific parental behaviors, food restrictions, and eating patterns in relation to child health outcomes were utilized to determine outcomes. The review of data concluded that parenting styles, and more specifically, specific parenting behaviors shared a strong relationship with child health outcomes. Permissive parenting was found to be associated with higher body mass index (BMI) in children when compared to other parenting styles. Authoritative and authoritarian parenting resulted in higher Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) scores. Positive food modeling, avoiding pressuring children to eat, preparing home cooked meals, and restricting the over consumption of calorie-dense foods or foods that could be considered unhealthy when over consumed are all specific behaviors that need more research to determine the correlation with child health outcomes.