Obesity in adolescence is a major public health issue in Brazil. The relation between food and family plays an important role in both prevention and treatment, although its precise effect has not been clearly established. The purpose of this study is to investigate the meanings of food for Brazilian obese adolescents and their parents. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 individuals from two medical centers in Fortaleza-CE, Brazil: seven adolescents with obesity (six girls and one boy aged between 12 and 18 years) and their parents (seven mothers, four fathers and one grandmother). The researchers used photo elicitation for the interview; that is, one photograph taken by each adolescent was used to evoke the statements we analyze here, according to Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The results were categorized into two principal superordinate themes. The first described the role of food in the parent–child relationship and the second, the organization of the family group. Results show that food reinforces the adolescents' dependence on their parents and the conflicts related to parental control of their food and what they can eat. The interrelations between food and family dynamics must be considered in developing therapeutic strategies for Brazilian obese adolescents and their families. These strategies must include siblings as well as grandparents.