Food and Family. A Socio-Ecological Perspective for Child Development

Barbara H. Fiese, Blake L. Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Using an ecological framework (Bronfenbrenner, 1979), and the specific concepts outlined in the "Six-C's Model" of contributors to child overweight and obesity by Harrison et al. (2011), this chapter reviews recent evidence linking the dynamics of food consumption to socialization practices, child health, media influences, and contextual factors such as poverty and culture. We discuss the multiple influences of food in a child's life, focusing on each of the different levels of the Six-C's Model, highlighting the influences of parental feeding practices, family mealtimes, and television viewing on food consumption. We provide examples of childhood obesity and household food insecurity to illustrate how food and family connect across different ecologies to result in either poor or optimal outcomes for children under different levels of risk. We conclude with recommendations for research, practice, and policy surrounding children's food consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Child Development and Behavior
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages31
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameAdvances in Child Development and Behavior
ISSN (Print)0065-2407


  • Ecological framework
  • Feeding practices
  • Food insecurity
  • Mealtimes
  • Obesity
  • Parenting styles
  • Self-regulation processes
  • Six-C's Model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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