Researchers from the University of California monitored the progress of 80 boys and girls who were following various family-based weight loss programmes. Over a period of five months, at least one parent attended weekly classes on healthy eating, exercise and parenting skills.
Parents had their height and weight measured and were quizzed about food purchases, their family eating styles and their parenting style. Children were asked about how close they were to their parents.
After five months, researchers found that the single common factor to have an effect on a child’s weight loss, was whether or not the parent(s) lost weight too.
"We looked at things such as parenting skills and styles, or changing the home food environment, and how they impacted a child's weight," study author, Dr Kerri N Boutelle said.
Researchers aren’t sure, however, whether the weight loss was caused by changes in lifestyle factors, parenting techniques or whether it was due to the slimmer parent setting a positive role model.
“Parents are the most significant people in a child's environment, serving as the first and most important teachers," said Dr Boutelle.
It would be interesting to know whether each child in the study also had at least one overweight parent as well, however there doesn’t appear to be any mention of this in the article.
Read more: MailOnline