Graduate Program

Nutrition and Dietetics

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion

Spring 2019

Thesis Director

Melanie T. Burns

Thesis Committee Member

Nichole Hugo

Thesis Committee Member

Melissa K. Maulding


Childhood obesity is a global health concern. According to the World Health, prevalence of obesity decupled in the last four decades, where 124 million children and adolescents are now considered obese (“Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity”, 2019). Organization Interactions between parenting styles and feeding styles play a critical role in the development of a child's lifestyle habits, which may impact their weight status. The purpose of this study was to identify how parenting and feeding styles impact a child’s weight status. A systematic review of the literature, guided by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Evidence Analysis Manual protocol, was conducted using three electronic databases. Inclusion criteria included: Children aged between 2-12 years, child weight status in BMI (kg/m2), and parenting and feeding style descriptions. Nine studies were selected based on the inclusion criteria. The results showed that authoritarian, permissive, and neglectful parenting styles were linked to higher BMI in children, which may be explained by the lack of self-control that accelerates to excessive food consumption. The authoritative parenting style was linked to lower child weight status. Culture also influenced the relationship between parenting style and the child’s weight. The results suggest that the use of a more authoritative style of parenting that focuses on identifying and following on a child’s hunger and satiety cues may aid in moderating a child’s weight status. Interventions from health professionals should involve teaching families about modeling healthy behaviors, building and reinforcing positive attitudes towards healthy eating, and exercising self-control in food consumption.