Parental involvement in interventions to improve child dietary intake: A systematic review

Melanie D. Hingle, Teresia M. O'Connor, Jayna M. Dave, Tom Baranowski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations


Objective: Interventions that aim to improve child dietary quality and reduce disease risk often involve parents. The most effective methods to engage parents remain unclear. A systematic review of interventions designed to change child and adolescent dietary behavior was conducted to answer whether parent involvement enhanced intervention effectiveness, and what type of involvement was most effective in achieving desired outcomes. Method: In 2008, Pub Med, Medline, Psych Info, and Cochrane Library databases were searched to identify programs designed to change child and adolescent dietary intake that also involved parents. Methods of parental involvement were categorized based on the type and intensity of parental involvement. These methods were compared against intervention design, dietary outcomes, and quality of reporting (evaluated using CONSORT checklist) for each study. Results: The literature search identified 1774 articles and 24 met review criteria. Four studies systematically evaluated parent involvement with inconsistent results. Indirect methods to engage parents were most commonly used, although direct approaches were more likely to result in positive outcomes. Four studies met > 70% of CONSORT items. Conclusion: Limited conclusions may be drawn regarding the best method to involve parents in changing child diet to promote health. However, direct methods show promise and warrant further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Children
  • Diet
  • Interventions
  • Obesity prevention
  • Parents
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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