The study is published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
"Our study tells us what factors may be connected with a parent's motivation to help their child become more healthy."
The study relies on a survey of 202 parents whose children were enrolled within an obesity clinic at the Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island in 2008 and 2009. The survey probed parents' preparation to take actionable measures to enhance physical activity levels and their child's eating habits. The kids ranged in age from 5 to 20 years old, having an average age of 13.8 years. More than two thirds were female, and almost all (94 percent) were classified as fat.
Although most of the children were referred to the obesity clinic by a primary care provider and had metabolic markers of obesity, 31.4 percent of parents perceived their child's health as excellent or very great and 28 percent didn't perceive their child's weight as a health concern.
Parents signaled a greater interest in helping their kid eat a healthful diet than supporting the pediatrician-recommended hour of daily physical activity.
Particularly, 61.4 percent of parents reported that they were improving their child's eating habits (less junk food, more fruits and vegetables) while only 41.1 percent said they were increasing their child's involvement in energetic play, sports, dancing or even walking. Both exercise and diet are considered keys and a growing body of evidence indicates that these health habits are formed early in life.
Parents who had talked with their primary care physician about healthy eating strategies were much more likely to be in the "action stage of change" with their child's diet. By contrast, parents who viewed their own fight as a health problem were less likely to be addressing their child's eating habits.
The researchers said education, income and race/ethnicity had no statistically significant bearing on a parent's likelihood of making dietary changes for their kid.
Concerning physical activity, researchers do not know why parents appear to underemphasize its role in good health, but the finding is consistent with other recent studies that suggest America's youth are mainly out-of-shape and sedentary, replacing playtime with "display time."
Pros say one strategy to counteract the trend may be to intervene early. Parents with kids 14 or older were much less inclined to become successful in helping their child acquire a physical dimension to their life than parents of younger kids.
Poverty may also play a role in how much kids move as parents with yearly incomes of less than $40,000 were also less likely to be participated in ensuring their kid got routine exercise.
The above story is based on materials provided by http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721142129.htm