Associations of maternal stress with children's weight-related behaviours: a systematic literature review

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jaclyn Maher, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Low adherence to guidelines for weight-related behaviours (e.g. dietary intake and physical activity) among US children underscores the need to better understand how parental factors may influence children's obesity risk. In addition to most often acting as primary caregiver to their children, women are also known to experience greater levels of stress than men. This study systematically reviewed associations between maternal stress and children's weight-related behaviours. Our search returned 14 eligible articles, representing 25 unique associations of maternal stress with a distinct child weight-related behaviour (i.e. healthy diet [n=3], unhealthy diet [n=6], physical activity [n=7] and sedentary behaviour [n=9]). Overall, findings for the relationship between maternal stress and children's weight-related behaviours were mixed, with no evidence for an association with children's healthy or unhealthy dietary intake, but fairly consistent evidence for the association of maternal stress with children's lower physical activity and higher sedentary behaviour. Recommendations for future research include prioritizing prospective designs, identifying moderators, and use of high-resolution, real-time data collection techniques to elucidate potential mechanisms.

Additional Information

Obesity Reviews. 18(5): 514-525. [2017]
Language: English
Date: 2017
Childhood obesity, maternal mental health, weight-related behaviour

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