Is Children’s Pestering for Food Purchases Related to Diet and Weight Outcomes? Evidence from the Multi-country IDEFICS Study

Christina Y. Huang, Lucia Reisch, Wencke Gwozdz, Dénes Molnar, Kenn Konstabel, Nathalie Michels, Michael Tornaritis, Gabriele Eiben, Alfonso Siani, Juan M. Fernandez-Alvira, Wolfgang Ahrens, Iris Pigeot, Lauren Lissner

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearchpeer-review


    Purpose: Children may influence household spending through their parents using “pester power,” where children request items
    repeatedly to persuade their parents to buy them. This study prospectively examines parent-child shopping behaviors across eight countries to identify predictors of children’s diet and weight.
    Methods: This study is part of the prospective multi-country IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of dietary- and lifestyleinduced
    health effects in children and infants) study. The analysis includes 12,969 parent-child dyads with measured height and weight and parent-reported information on diet and behavior at baseline and 7,562 dyads after two years.
    Results: At baseline, most parents (60%) reported “sometimes” purchasing their children’s requests, with some differences by
    country. Children whose parents often acquiesced consumed greater proportions of sugar and fat in their diet (3.7 and 2.0 percentage points, respectively), but were not more likely to be overweight or obese. Avoiding taking the child grocery shopping because the child pushed for treats and often asking for items from television were both independently associated with higher sugar and fat diets and greater BMIs. At the two-year follow-up, children who often asked for items were more likely to become overweight (OR=1.36), while never asking for items was protective against overweight (OR=0.61) and obesity (OR=0.70).
    Conclusions: Pestering was modestly related to diet and weight. Children whose parents avoided shopping with them were heavier
    and had worse diets, which may suggest reverse causality. The relationship between asking for items from television and weight over time suggests that limiting television advertising may foster healthier outcomes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2014
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventISBNPA 2014 Annual Meeting: Promoting Healthy Eating and Activity Worldwide - San Diego, United States
    Duration: 21 May 201424 May 2014
    Conference number: 13


    ConferenceISBNPA 2014 Annual Meeting
    CountryUnited States
    CitySan Diego
    Internet address

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