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Parents (defined broadly to include primary caregivers) have a profound influence on their children by fostering certain values and attitudes, by rewarding or reinforcing specific behaviors, and by serving as role models. A child's health and well-being are thus enhanced by a home environment with engaged and skillful parenting that models, values, and encourages healthful eating habits and a physically active lifestyle. Economic and time constraints, as well as the stresses and challenges of daily living, may make healthful eating and increased physical activity a difficult reality on a day-to-day basis for many families.

Parents play a fundamental role as household policy makers. They make daily decisions on recreational opportunities, food availability at home, and children's allowances; they determine the setting for foods eaten in the home; and they implement countless other rules and policies that influence the extent to which various members of the family engage in healthful eating and physical activity. Older children and youth, meanwhile, have responsibilities to be aware of their own eating habits and activity patterns and to engage in health-promoting behaviors.

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