Food continues to be the focus of lifelong dietary and social habits. Past studies have shown the importance of creating healthy habits in childhood to increase the probability of healthy dietary behaviors as adults. A concern nationwide is that unhealthy dietary habits formed as a child translates to habits practiced as an adult, resulting in obesity (CDC, 2016). Past studies have shown that parenting styles are one of the contributing factors that influence how young adults view and interact with food. Branen & Fletcher's study concluded that there are significant correlations between habits formed in childhood that are still happening in adulthood (Branen & Fletcher, 1999). Authoritative parenting has been proven to be the most healthful form of parenting for both the child in the present and in the future. Permissive/neglectful or authoritarian parenting styles have been known as the two extremes that result in unhealthy dietary behaviors for both the child in the present and in the future (Mgbemere and Telles, 2013). This study has proven that authoritative parenting styles has a healthy affect on dietary behaviors among young adults. Neglectful and authoritarian parenting styles have a negative affect on dietary behaviors among young adults. This study revealed that dietary behaviors have worsened among undergraduate students at Minnesota State University, Mankato after enrolling into college when compared to dietary behaviors in high school. There was a statistically significant difference between past and present dietary behaviors (+(327)=-3.694, p<.05). This study also revealed a statistically significant difference in present dietary behaviors between report parenting styles (F(2,288)=6.069, p<.05) specifically, between the Authoritative group (n=234) (M=25.67, SD=3.37) and the Authoritarian group (n=24) (M=28.29, SD=4.53).


Joseph Visker

Committee Member

Mary Kramer

Committee Member

Mark Windscitl

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Health Science


Allied Health and Nursing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License