The Influence of Fathers on Children’s Physical Activity and Dietary Behaviors: Insights, Recommendations and Future Directions
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Purpose of Review
Although fathers have an important influence on their children’s well-being, their unique influence on child lifestyle behaviors has been largely overlooked in the literature. To inform and encourage future research, this paper provides an overview of existing studies that have examined the influence of fathers on the physical activity and dietary behaviors of their children.
While the available data indicate that fathers’ behaviors and parenting practices likely play an important role in promoting healthy behaviors in children, the evidence base is limited by a reliance on observational designs and small, ungeneralizable samples.
This paper also provides a summary of the methods, research findings, and experiential insights we have gained while conducting the “Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids” randomized controlled trials, which tested the efficacy and effectiveness of a socio-culturally targeted program that engages fathers to improve their own health and the health of their children. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations for recruiting and engaging fathers and a summary of directions for future research.
KeywordsFathers Dads Children Physical activity Diet Obesity prevention Parenting practices Modeling Co-physical activity
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Philip J. Morgan and Myles D. Young declare they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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