Relationships between child, parent and community characteristics and weight status among young children

Child Obesity Research Centre, Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, Wollongong NSW 2522, Australia.
International journal of pediatric obesity: IJPO: an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity (Impact Factor: 3.03). 11/2009; 5(3):256-64. DOI: 10.3109/17477160903271971
Source: PubMed


To examine the relationship between weight status and child, parent and community characteristics among young boys and girls.
Cross-sectional data were collected from 1 299 5-7-year-old children and their parents from 20 government primary schools in New South Wales, Australia. Measures included parental report of time spent in physical and sedentary activities, time spent with parents, parental working hours, parental perceptions of their child's physical competence and children's actual physical competence.
Overweight boys spent more time watching television (p = 0.001 for weekday) and in quiet play (p = 0.007 for weekdays and p = 0.006 for weekends) and less time away from their parents (p = 0.01) than their lean counterparts. Parents of overweight boys perceived them to be less competent in the skill of running than parents of non-overweight boys (p = 0.001). Overweight girls spent more time watching television on weekends compared with their non-overweight peers (p = 0.008), and were less proficient in overall actual competence (p = 0.008), particularly overall locomotor skill proficiency (p = 0.001).
Several modifiable relationships between weight status and child, parental and community characteristics were identified. Importantly these relationships differed between boys and girls. We suggest that early school years may be an appropriate time to intervene through targeting the identified characteristics.

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    • "Though it is possible that higher maternal protectiveness leads to poorer weight outcomes through limited physical activity or independent mobility for older children, the mechanisms that link high protection and child BMI, and the direction in which these mechanisms operate, remain unclear. While some research certainly points to evidence that suggests that children of highly protective parents are less active [47], such a link is not informed by the data in this study. As such, alternative explanations are also possible. "
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years there has been an increasing interest in overprotective parenting and the potential role it plays in child development. While some have argued that a trend towards increased parental fear and reduced opportunity for independent mobility may be linked to increasing rates of child overweight and obesity, there is limited empirical information available to support this claim. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, this study aimed to examine the longitudinal relationships between maternal protectiveness and child overweight and obesity. A cohort of 4-5 year old children was followed up at 6-7, 8-9 and 10-11 years of age (n = 2596). Measures included a protective parenting scale administered when children were 6-7 and 8-9 years of age, child body mass index (BMI), family characteristics including household income, neighbourhood disadvantage, child's position amongst siblings, and maternal BMI, education, employment, mental health and age at first birth. International Obesity Taskforce age- and sex-specific BMI cut points were used to determine if children were in the normal, overweight or obese BMI range. There was no association between maternal protectiveness and the odds of children being overweight or obese at age 4-5, 6-7 or 8-9 years. However at age 10-11 years, a 1 standard deviation increase in maternal protectiveness was associated with a 13% increase in the odds of children being overweight or obese. The results provide evidence of a relationship between maternal protectiveness and child overweight and obesity, however further research is required to understand the mechanism(s) that links the two concepts.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Such locomotor competences are likely to be directly related to the excess weight and impaired musculoskeletal functions of obese children [21]. The finding that the jumping ability was associated with obesity among girls only (as also found in another study) [33] may be partly interpreted in relation to BMI specificity (between 85% to 95% according to the studies) [34,35] that could lead to misclassification of some muscular physically active boys as overweight or obese. This explanation is indeed plausible since the jump distance correlated with obesity in boys using the IOTF references. "
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we investigate some of the factors that may limit opportunities of children in Australia to engage in outdoor physical play. We examine the paradox that ‘surplus safety’ (i.e. excessive attempts at creating safe environments for children) in child care, school and urban environments, may expose children to significant chronic health risks. In making this case, we examine findings on physical activity levels in child care and restrictive regulatory environments. We also examine restrictions in school playgrounds that result, at least partly, from fears of litigation. Finally, we discuss the results of a pilot project in which loose parts were introduced into a school playground resulting in increased physical activity levels.
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