Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Lacey McCormack


childhood obesity, child weight status, food rules, home environment, parental eating policies, preschool-aged children


Background: Childhood obesity is a complex issue common in the U.S. today as it not only is associated with health-threatening comorbidities, but also increases a child’s likelihood of becoming overweight or obese during adulthood. Because of its complexity, several factors, including parents and the home environment, must be considered when assessing child weight status and also when aiming to prevent or treat childhood obesity.
Objective: To investigate specific food rules practiced within the home environment that are influencing child weight status and to identify if these rules contrast among children who are normal weight and those who are overweight/obese. Methods: A cross-sectional sample of home environment data determined by the parents of preschool-aged children (ages 3 to 5) was taken from the larger iGrow Readers dataset to determine if certain food rules were associated with child weight status. Children of any weight status were invited to participate and parents had varying weight statuses, relationship statuses, ethnicities, occupations, education levels, and relationship statuses. Results: Findings indicate that only a couple of food rules currently being practiced within the home environment are associated with increased chances of child overweight/obesity. However, no other rules were found to be associated with weight status.
Conclusion: The extent to which the home environment impacts child weight status is still unclear. Several aspects of the home environment need to be examined altogether rather than separately when examining child-related outcomes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Children -- Nutrition.
Food habits.
Parent and child.
Obesity in children.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 41-43)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2017 Emily Smith

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Nutrition Commons