Influence of family structure on obesogenic behaviors and placement of bedroom TVs of American children: National Survey of Children's Health 2007

Susan B. Sisson, Amanda Morris, Paul Spicer, Karina Lora, Chelsea Latorre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Objective: To explore the relation between family structure and obesogenic attributes. Methods: Publicly available data from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health (n. = 55,094; 11.6. ±. 0.04. years; 51.2% male) was analyzed in fall 2012. Predictor variables included marital status (two-parent biological [referent], two-parent blended, single-mother, and other) and number of children. Outcome variables included the presence of a bedroom television (BTV), elevated television (TV) viewing time, insufficient physical activity, and infrequent family meals. Results: Analysis of family structure revealed 63% biological, 11% blended, and 20% single-mother families. Twenty-three percent of children did not have siblings. When family structure variables were considered independently, children in blended (odds ratio (OR): 1.75; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.45, 2.10) and single-mother homes (1.49; 1.28, 1.74) had higher odds of BTV. Children in blended families had higher odds of elevated TV viewing time (1.28; 1.08, 1.51). Single-mother homes had higher odds of infrequent family meals (1.28; 1.07, 1.52). Families with ≥. 2 children were less likely to have BTV (0.60; 0.54, 0.66) or elevated TV viewing time (0.74; 0.67, 0.82), and to irregularly dine together (0.89; 0.80, 0.99). Conclusion: Diverse family structure was associated with more obesogenic behaviors and environments. The presence of siblings diminished, but did not eliminate, the risk. •Diverse marital status was associated with more obesogenic behaviors.•Having siblings minimizes obesogenic behaviors, in most marital structures.•Strongest relationships were noted of media-related obesogenic behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-53
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2014



  • Blended family
  • Exercise
  • Family meals
  • Siblings
  • Television viewing

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