The objective of this study is to understand the pathways through which social influence at the family level moderates the impact of childhood obesity interventions. We conducted a systematic review of obesity interventions in which parents' behaviours are targeted to change children's obesity outcomes, because of the potential social and environmental influence of parents on the nutrition and physical activity behaviours of children. PubMed (1966-2013) and the Web of Science (1900-2013) were searched, and 32 studies satisfied our inclusion criteria. Results for existing mechanisms that moderate parents' influence on children's behaviour are discussed, and a causal pathway diagram is developed to map out social influence mechanisms that affect childhood obesity. We provide health professionals and researchers with recommendations for leveraging family-based social influence mechanisms to increase the efficacy of obesity intervention programmes.