OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the association between parental impulsivity and (12-15 year old) child body mass index (BMI).
METHODS: In total, 300 parents completed a survey regarding their own impulsivity level (Barratt impulsiveness scale) and that of their child (impulsivity scale of the temperament in middle childhood questionnaire), and supplied details of their own and their child's height and weight. Partial correlations were computed to assess relationships between both parental and child impulsiveness scores and child BMI z-scores, independent of parental BMI. Mediation analyses were performed to assess the potential mediating role of child impulsivity on the relationship between parental impulsivity and child BMI z-score.
RESULTS: For daughters, parental impulsivity was significantly correlated with BMI z-score. Parent-reported child impulsivity was not related to child BMI z-score, and no evidence was found for a mediating effect of parent-reported child impulsivity on the relationship between parental impulsivity and child BMI z-score.
CONCLUSION: There is a stronger association between parental impulsivity and child BMI z-score than between child impulsivity and child BMI z-score. The relationship between parental impulsivity and-child BMI z-score could possibly be explained by parenting styles and practices. The potentially mediating role of parenting should be taken into account in future studies investigating the role of personality in children becoming overweight or obese.