Obesogenic food consumption among young children: the role of maltreatment

Dylan B. Jackson, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To determine whether children exposed to a greater variety of acts of parent-to-child physical and psychological maltreatment will be at greater risk of consuming obesogenic foods at a higher frequency.Design Survey research using a longitudinal panel design.Setting In-home interviews with primary caregivers in twenty large US cities.Participants A national sample of at-risk children and their families who participated in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS).Results Child maltreatment emerged as a statistically significant (P<0·01) and robust predictor of obesogenic food consumption, in both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Child maltreatment also consistently emerged as one of the strongest predictors of obesogenic food consumption in these models. Ancillary analyses indicated that physical maltreatment plays a particularly important role in these associations.Conclusions A major implication of the present study is that child maltreatment prevention efforts should be reflected in interventions that seek to diminish unhealthy eating practices among children. Multi-professional teams can work together on obesity prevention not only via education but also by considering the interconnectedness of obesogenic food consumption and experiences of maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1840-1849
Number of pages10
JournalPublic health nutrition
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood
  • Diet
  • Maltreatment
  • Obesogenic
  • Parent-to-child aggression
  • Parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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