IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Parental Influence on Children's Unhealthy Lifestyle Activities in UK


  • Cristiana Abbafati

    (Department of Economic Theory - Sapienza University of Rome (Italy))


It is generally considered that parental lifestyle activities affect children. It is said that parents are an important influence on their children’s behavior and that the habits pass from generation to generation. It is true that children consider their parents as role-models and it is more likely to behave similar to them adopting their healthy or unhealthy activities. However, there are other factors that can affect children’s behavior throughout the years such as their friends, the social class, family finances etc. This study aims at examining how parental lifestyle activities are transmitted. We use the Sixteen-year Follow-up (1986, 16-year old individuals) of the British Cohort Study 1970 Database, where data are collected from individuals born in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in a specific week in April 1970. A sample of 11,615 16-year old boys and girls is taken in order to see how the smoking, alcohol drinking and physical activity of their parents are affecting their lifestyle. Other factors are also taken into account i.e. the number of natural parents and any possible financial hardship of the family. The analysis is conducted using logistic regression, indicating that the selected independent variables can explain the influences on the dependent variables. Results show great parental influence on children’s drinking, children’s smoking and children’s physical activity. A significant peer influence is also shown for children’s smoking. Children tend to smoke more if their friends smoke. Father’s employment status plays only a small role on children’s drinking habits, though not as expected. If the father is unemployed, children are less likely to drink or smoke. There is no influence by the presence of family financial hardships or the number of natural parents. As a conclusion, our findings suggest that parental and peer habits exert great influence on children’s lifestyles.

Suggested Citation

  • Cristiana Abbafati, 2010. "Parental Influence on Children's Unhealthy Lifestyle Activities in UK," Working Papers 7/10, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
  • Handle: RePEc:saq:wpaper:7/10

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    parental lifestyle; children’s behavior; intergenerationally trasmission; logit regression.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:saq:wpaper:7/10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Pierluigi Montalbano (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.