The Association of Parental/Caregiver Chronic Stress with Youth Obesity: Findings from the Study of Latino Youth and the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos Sociocultural Ancillary Study

Carmen R. Isasi, Simin Hua, Molly Jung, Mercedes R. Carnethon, Krista Perreira, Denise Vidot, Christian R. Salazar, Jessica L. McCurley, Daniela Sotres-Alvarez, Linda Van Horn, Alan M Delamater, Maria Llabre, Linda C. Gallo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Background: Prior studies indicate that chronic stress is associated with obesity in adults. However, whether parental/caregiver stress is associated with obesity in their offspring has not been widely examined in Hispanic/Latino populations. In this study, we evaluated the role of caregiver chronic stress on child obesity and whether home food environment or child lifestyle behaviors explained the association. Methods: The study included a sample of Hispanic/Latino youth and their caregivers (n = 473) from the Study of Latinos (SOL) Youth study and the Hispanic Community Health Study/SOL Sociocultural Study, which enrolled children aged 8-16 years from four cities (Bronx, Chicago, Miami, and San Diego), and provided assessments of adult chronic stress. Poisson regression models were used to assess the association between parental/caregiver stress and child obesity, adjusting for potential confounders. Results: Twenty-two percent of caregivers did not report any chronic stressors, 48% reported 1-2, and 29% reported ≥3 stressors. The prevalence of obesity in youth increased with number of caregiver stressors from 23% among those without caregiver stressors to 35% among those with ≥3 stressors (p for trend 0.03). After model adjustment, youths whose caregivers reported ≥3 stressors were more likely to be obese than youths whose caregivers reported no stressors (prevalence ratio = 1.53; 95% confidence interval 1.01-2.32). This association was independent of food home environment, child diet quality, and child physical activity, but it was not independent of caregiver obesity. Conclusions: These findings suggest that parental/caregiver chronic stress is related to obesity in their children. Future research is needed to confirm this association in longitudinal studies and in other population groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-258
Number of pages8
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017



  • Caregiver stress
  • Home environment
  • Obesity
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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