Effect of parental mental health status on adolescents' dietary behaviors.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore whether adolescents of substance-abusing and depressed parents were more likely to have poor dietary behaviors than those in the health comparison families. METHODS: The sample consisted of 841 adolescents in families of substance-abusing parents, depressed parents, and parents without a diagnosable psychiatric disorder. All adolescents were given a food frequency questionnaire. RESULTS: Adolescents whose parents had substance abuse disorder had lower intakes of fruits and higher intakes of high fat foods, and also ate more frequently at fast-food restaurants and purchased more snacks. Adolescents whose parents were depressed had lower intakes of all food groups. Mother's mental health status impacted more on adolescents' dietary behaviors than did the father's mental health status. CONCLUSION: This research suggests that at-risk behaviors among youth of psychiatrically impaired parents may extend to food behaviors.
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