All in the family? Parental roles in the epidemic of childhood obesity

Elizabeth S. Moore, William L. Wilkie, Debra M. Desrochers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (SciVal)


Childhood obesity is a serious global health challenge. Families and consumption are at the nexus of the problem, as childhood weight issues depend significantly on family-related influences (genetic predispositions, physical activities, and household food consumption practices). This article focuses on how a family socializes a child toward or away from obesity. It advances a family consumer socialization framework to characterize key elements and processes. Biological predispositions, parent/family inputs, elements of child development, parent-child interactions, and intergenerational transfer are all major contributors to weight status and life course potentials. Time is also a crucial component, here represented in two forms-linear and cyclical. Drawing on extensive research from other disciplines and related consumer research, five "foundational properties" are distilled, representing fundamental tenets underpinning the family's role in this problem. Each property is then used to chart promising opportunities for consumer researchers and others interested in advancing knowledge on this pressing concern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)824-859
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number5
Early online date26 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2017


  • Childhood obesity
  • Children
  • Consumption
  • Family
  • Obesity
  • Parents
  • Socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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