Parental depression is a risk factor for childhood obesity.
To examine the influence of parental depression on child weight status, eating behaviours, and parental feeding practices during childhood obesity treatment.
Hundred and twenty eight children with obesity aged 4 to 6 years and their parents were randomized to a parent support program or to standard treatment. At baseline and after 12 months, children’s heights and weights were measured. Parents reported levels of depression (Beck’s Depression Inventory-II), feeding practices (Child Feeding Questionnaire), and children’s eating behaviors (Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire). Independent and dependent paired sample t-tests and linear regressions were used to analyze data.
After obesity treatment, mothers reported lower levels of depression, whereas fathers did not. No associations were found between parental level of depression and child weight status, or between baseline level of parental depression and feeding practices. Associations were found between baseline parental depression and children’s food responsiveness (β = .03; P = .01; 95% CI [0.01, 0.05]), emotional overeating (β = .02; P = .02; 95% CI [0.004, 0.04]), and desire to drink (β = .02; P = .03; 95% CI [0.002, 0.04]) (adjusted for background variables).
Parental depression did not influence child weight status or parental feeding practices but was associated with obesity-related child eating behaviors.

© 2020 The Authors. Pediatric Obesity published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of World Obesity Federation.