Family lifestyle habits: what is passed down from adults to children?

Riccardo Borgia*, Elena Castellari, Paolo Sckokai

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroContributo a convegno


Noncommunicable diseases are responsible for 70% of deaths worldwide, primarily induced by the use of tobacco, unhealthy dietary habits, lack of physical activity (PA) and abuse of alcohol (WHO, 2017). Among these behaviours, the adoption of healthy eating patterns and a regular physical activity initiated in childhood may reduce the risk of occurrence of overweight and obesity, immediately, and the insurgence of chronic diseases, into adulthood (Nicklas et al., 2001). To promote the early adoption of such healthy practices family has always played a key role (Patrick & Nicklas, 2005). Nevertheless, the children’s daily life environment is deeply and rapidly changing and the central role of family in shaping children lifestyle habits is being called into question. The study focuses on four behaviors indicated as highly – negatively and positively – related to the occurrence of overweight and obesity. The advisable behaviors are i) eating food for breakfast, ii) doing regular PA and iii) consuming five portions of fruit and vegetable (FV) per day. The unadvisable behavior is consuming one or more savory snacks a day. Each habit is studied individually but by means of the same model (i.e. including the same variables). The model employs a multinomial logistic (MNL) regression to relate the occurrence of the four investigated behaviors to the characteristics of the children (age and gender) and the respective household. Specifically the latter outline health and socio-demographic features of the household: share of obese adults, number of children and adults, adults’ education level, share of females, and geographical area. Moreover, to assess the household behavioral environment – main focus of the research – the share of adults manifesting the investigated children behaviors is included in the model. Lastly, the year of data collection is also observed – even if the study is cross-sectional – to monitor any significant variation from 2013 to 2016. The study is performed on the microdata of the Italian Multipurpose Survey on Households Daily Life Aspects provided by ISTAT (years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). The dataset consists of 25,265 children belonging to 16,893 households. According to UN, children are identified in the dataset as individuals younger than 18 years old. The main insight provided by the study is that the likelihood of observing the children behaviors increases with the share of adults manifesting the same behavior (except for PA) suggesting that family still plays a role in influencing some children lifestyle habit, although unevenly among behaviors. Indeed, results show that the habit of practicing regular PA is much more likely to be passed down than breakfast-eating, and they are both less likely than daily-snacking. This might suggest that unadvisable behaviors are more liable to be emulated than the advisable ones. Finally, the research suggests priority targets for children health promotion policies: Southern Italy and – limited to some habit – 14-17 years old.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteProceedings of ASA Conference 2019: Book of short papers - Statistics for Health and Well-Being
Numero di pagine4
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2019
EventoASA Conference 2019: Statistics for Health and Well-Being - Brescia
Durata: 25 set 201927 set 2019


ConvegnoASA Conference 2019: Statistics for Health and Well-Being


  • Children’s habits
  • Eating behaviour
  • Family environment
  • Lifestyle behaviour adoption


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