Faculty Publications – College of Science and Health


Links between the organization of the family home environment and child obesity: a systematic review

Document Type


Publication Date



Due to increasingly high rates of child overweight and obesity, it is important to identify risk and protective factors that may inform more effective prevention and intervention. The degree of organization in the family home environment is a studied, but not well‐specified, factor that may impact child weight. Prior research on household organization has examined an array of constructs, including family routines, limit setting, household chaos, crowding and the broad home environment. This study systematically reviews literature on organization within the family home environment and weight among children ages 2–12. Six hundred thirty‐seven studies were reviewed by four coders for eligibility, and 32 studies were included in the final synthesis. Overall, 84% of studies provided evidence for relations between at least one indicator of organization within the family home environment and child weight. Studies provided compelling evidence across several constructs, suggesting that the relevance of household organization to child weight extends beyond a single indicator. Directions for future work include (i) examining the mediating role of health behaviours, (ii) examining the moderating role of socioeconomic factors, (iii) broadening this evidence base across cultures and nationalities and (iv) integrating constructs to develop a comprehensive model of organization within the home environment.