Current Obesity Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 324–333 | Cite as

The Influence of Fathers on Children’s Physical Activity and Dietary Behaviors: Insights, Recommendations and Future Directions

  • Philip J. MorganEmail author
  • Myles D. Young
The Obesity Epidemic: Causes and Consequences (A Cameron and K Backholer, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on The Obesity Epidemic: Causes and Consequences


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.

Recent Findings

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.


Fathers 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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and NutritionUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Education and ArtsUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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