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Parenting Stress: Associations with Childhood Obesity Risk and Related Risk Behaviours

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Title: Parenting Stress: Associations with Childhood Obesity Risk and Related Risk Behaviours
Author: Walton, Kathryn
Department: Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Program: Applied Nutrition
Advisor: Haines, JessRandall Simpson, JanisDarlington, Gerarda
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to explore the association between parenting stress and child body mass index (BMI). Behaviours known to increase childhood obesity risk were also examined in relation to parent stress: poor eating habits, increased television viewing, decreased physical activity and poor sleep habits. Cross-sectional, baseline data were collected from 110 parent-child dyads participating in a family-based obesity prevention intervention. The majority of participants identified as Hispanic/Latino and belonged to low-income households. Parents scored an average of 28.4 +/- 10.7 on the PSI-3-SF, classifying 20% as high stress. Using the World Health Organization (WHO) growth charts, 48% of children were categorized as overweight or obese. Parenting stress was not found to be associated with child weight status in this study. Parenting stress was, however, significantly associated with unhealthful behaviours that are associated with increased obesity risk. In comparison to children with unstressed parents, the children of highly stressed parents were less likely to meet the recommendation of 60 minutes spent in active play per day on weekdays. Highly stressed parents also were less likely to limit the amount of television their child viewed. While it is important to target activity and television behaviours among young children, our results suggest that interventions may also need to address parental stress as a possible underlying factor associated with unhealthful behaviours among young children.
Date: 2013-07
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