Parental Relationships and Family Cohesiveness as Influencing Adolescent Eating

Golshid Fadakar, Melinda Blackman*, California State University, Fullerton

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Abstract The purpose of the study was to examine the eating behaviors of adolescents, while investigating how influential parental relationships and family cohesiveness were on the adolescent’s behavior. This study consisted of 81 adolescents, 59 females and 22 males, from Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe Springs, California. This research indicated that strong family cohesion and individual parental relationships play a significant factor in healthy adolescent eating.

Introduction Research has shown that nearly 60 percent of America’s youth consumed less than one serving of fruit per day, while 29 percent consumed less than one serving of vegetables per day. Furthermore, only 29 percent of high school students consumed five servings of fruits and vegetables per day (Kahn, Kinchen, & Williams, 1998; Krebs-Smith et al., 1996). With less than one third of high school students consuming the appropriate amount of fruit and vegetable servings, researchers were more motivated than ever to study adolescent nutrition and eating behaviors. Research has shown that parent-child relationships and family cohesiveness are factors related to adolescent eating behaviors (Ackard, Neumark-Sztainer, Story, & Perry, 2006; Franko, Thompson, Bauserman, Affenito, & Striegel-Moore, 2008; Kremers, Brug, de Vries, & Engels, 2003; Young & Fors, 2001). Furthermore, research has shown that nutritious consumption of breakfast can have both positive effects on adolescents’ mental and physical health (O’Sullivan et al., 2008; Pearson, Biddle, & Gorely, 2009). A wide spectrum of research has shown that breakfast consumption plays a vital role in the mental and physical well being of adolescents; however there has been an increased rise in breakfast skipping among young people.

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