Main content

Home is Where the Health is: Investigating Family Stress and Cardiometabolic Health Among Families with Preschool-Aged Children

Show full item record

Title: Home is Where the Health is: Investigating Family Stress and Cardiometabolic Health Among Families with Preschool-Aged Children
Author: Hruska, Valerie
Department: Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
Program: Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
Advisor: Ma, David
Abstract: The home environment is a key determinant of family health, and chronic stress within the home may influence the health of parents and children. Past research has investigated the relationship between family stress and biomarkers such as adiposity as well as health-related behaviours such as food-related practices among families with older and adolescent children. However, less is known about these phenomena among families with preschool-aged children, and few family health studies actively include fathers. This thesis aimed to examine cross-sectional associations between family stress levels and cardiometabolic health among preschool-aged children and their parents. Specifically, biomarkers of adiposity, blood pressure, circulatory lipids, glucose metabolism and inflammation were assessed. Additionally, inflammatory potential of the diet was used as a proxy for inflammatory risk. This thesis also explored the implications of an existing family-based health promotion intervention for stress levels within the home. It was found that stress within the home was adversely associated with parents’ cardiometabolic health factors, specifically adiposity, inflammation, and dietary predictors of inflammation. No associations were seen among children, indicating a level of protection or buffering from parent-perceived stress. No substantial changes in family stress levels were observed as a result of participating in the health intervention up to one year follow-up, indicating that this intervention was not overly burdensome for families but also that specific strategies for improved stress management may need to be included in health interventions to address families’ needs. Collectively, these findings indicate that stress in the home environment may be a particularly powerful target for improving parent cardiometabolic health, but perhaps less so for preschool-aged children. Future longitudinal and experimental research exploring stress within the home in the context of promoting health and wellbeing among families with young children is warranted.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10214/26392
Date: 2021-08-30
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Related Publications: Hruska, V., Darlington, G., Haines, J., & Ma, D. W. L. (2020). Parent stress as a consideration in childhood obesity prevention: Results from the Guelph Family Health Study, a pilot randomized controlled trial. Nutrients, 12(6), 1835. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061835
Embargoed Until: 2022-08-30


Files in this item

Files Size Format View
Hruska_Valerie_202109_PhD.pdfuntranslated 1.132Mb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International