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Cross-sectional study
Parental–adolescent conversations that focus on weight are more likely to be associated with unhealthy weight-control behaviours in adolescents than conversations that focus on healthy eating
  1. Julie C Lumeng
  1. Center for Human Growth and Development; Department of Pediatrics, Medical School; Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to : Dr Julie Lumeng, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109–5406, USA; jlumeng{at}

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Implications for practice and research

  • Conversations between parents and adolescents about healthy eating are associated with a reduction in adolescent-reported unhealthy weight-control behaviour.

  • In contrast, talking to adolescents directly about the need to diet or lose weight is associated with more adolescent-reported unhealthy weight-control behaviour.

  • Practitioners should advise parents that discussions with adolescents that promote healthy eating are more useful in changing health behaviours than discussions focusing on dieting or losing weight.


Although the obesity epidemic has received much attention with an emphasis on healthy eating and weight control, unhealthy weight-control behaviour among adolescents remains a significant concern. There is substantial interest in preventing or treating obesity while avoiding the promotion of unhealthy weight-control behaviours. No prior study has examined …

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  • Competing interests None.