Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

Major Professor

Marilyn Stern, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Christina Dillahunt-Aspillaga, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tammy Jorgensen Smith, Ph.D

Committee Member

Celia Lescano, Ph.D.


obesity, pediatric, health, families


The obesity epidemic among children and adolescents has been growing rapidly over the past 10 years, particularly in Latino children. Multiple researchers have found support for positive associations between parent-child communication and healthy nutrition and exercise behaviors. The present study examined the relations between parent-adolescent communication and parenting style and the dietary and exercise behaviors of Latino adolescents. The study included 79 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 years and their parents (100% are Latino). Correlation and hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to determine which parenting style and communication variables are significantly associated with adolescents’ dietary and physical activity behaviors. Based on the Pearson correlation and hierarchical regression analyses, parent reported ‘problems in communication’ was the only variable significantly associated with adolescents’ fast food intake. Overall, the results of this study demonstrate the value of considering family functioning in childhood obesity research and including the family in childhood obesity interventions.