Parental Influences on Childhood Obesity

Hotovec, Jenna
Obesity is an epidemic that has dramatically risen in children across the United States. Obese children are at risk for numerous immediate and long-term health problems. Parents have a great influence over children's daily activities and meal times. Parents set rules for the amount of screen time allowed each day, how often healthy, home-cooked meals are eaten, how often the family eats together without media, and how often a child engages in physical activity. Through a literature review, I adapted a published survey of parental influences on childhood obesity to assess the educational needs of parents at the UW Early Care and Education Center (ECEC). Twenty-two out of seventy parents, ages 18-55, completed the online survey, a 31% return. Results indicate things such as parents need education about avoiding using sweet treats as rewards for good behavior and about healthy amounts of physical activity for themselves and their children. I plan to survey parents with different backgrounds too compare results with this academically-oriented parental group.
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