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Family- and school-based predictors of energy balance-related behaviours in children: a 6-year longitudinal study

  • Maïté Verloigne (a1), Wendy Van Lippevelde (a2), Lea Maes (a2), Johannes Brug (a3) and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij (a1)...

To examine family- and school-based predictors of breakfast consumption, soft drink consumption and physical activity (PA) and moderating effects of gender and socio-economic status (SES).


Longitudinal study (6-year follow-up), including a questionnaire about dietary and activity behaviour.


Fifty-nine Flemish elementary schools.


Seven hundred and twenty-seven children (51·9 % girls, 51·9 % high SES, mean age 9·9 (sd 0·4) years at baseline).


Having breakfast together with parents (P < 0·001) at age 10 years related to more days of eating breakfast at age 16 years. More parental soft drink consumption (P = 0·04), less soft drink availability at home (P < 0·001) and less parental permissiveness (children received soft drinks from their parents whenever they asked for it and children could take soft drinks whenever they wanted; P = 0·02 and P = 0·001, respectively) at age 10 years related to less soft drink consumption at age 16 years. A more positive parental attitude towards PA (P = 0·009), more parental encouragement (P = 0·002) and a higher rating of PA's benefit ‘relaxing’ (P < 0·001) at age 10 years related to more PA at age 16 years. Gender and SES did not significantly moderate any of the associations.


Only parental factors at age 10 years were associated with breakfast consumption, soft drink consumption and PA at age 16 years. An intervention programme at age 10 years with a strong focus on the modifiable parental factors might lead to healthy behaviour in the long term.

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Public Health Nutrition
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