Inner-city, African American and Latino youth are at higher risk for the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Interventions usually focus on changing physical activity and dietary behaviors, yet family environment has the potential to influence response to these interventions. We aimed to identify instruments that could reliably be used to assess the family environment of children from high-risk populations. Selected indices from four instruments were used; the Family Environment Scale (FES), the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales IV (FACES IV), the Self-report Family Inventory (SFI), and the Family Assessment Device (FAD). Out of 15 indices evaluated, 9 were reliable in both ethnicities including FES cohesion, conflict and organization, SFI emotional expressiveness, conflict and family health/competence, FACES IV family communication and family satisfaction, and FAD general functioning. Perceived family environment characteristics did not differ significantly for inner-city African American and Hispanic families.