OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this paper was to review the existing literature regarding the contribution of parental influences to the sociocultural pressures on body image disturbance and disordered eating so as to highlight principal findings so that parents can be given practical information and identify areas that require further research. METHODS: Relevant articles were located through Pubmed, Sciencedirect and PsychInfo, as well as the screening of bibliographies. RESULTS: The available data suggest that parents are strong communicators of sociocultural pressures. Parental influences via verbal messages and active encouragement have been shown to have more impact on offspring's body concerns and eating behaviours than modelling effects. Both mothers and fathers are important sources of influence for their offspring. CONCLUSION: Considering the role of parents could help improve public health management. Futher exploration of the way adolescents and young adults interpret and perceive parental attitudes and of potential protective factors is necessary.