An exploration of the frequency, location, and content of parents' health- and weight-focused conversations with their children and associations with child weight status

Amanda C. Trofholz, Allan D. Tate, Jerica M Berge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Although parental weight-focused conversations with children have been associated with more unhealthy weight and weight-related outcomes in children and adolescents, little is known about the content and context of these conversations or conversations about healthy eating in the home environment. This study examines the frequency, location, and content of health- and weight-focused conversations in the home environment and examines the association between specific types of health- and weight-focused conversations with child overweight status. Methods: Mixed-methods data were collected from parents of children from primarily low-income, minority homes (n = 110). Quantitative data included the frequency and location (i.e., “the context”) of different types of health- and weight-focused conversations, while open-ended, write-in survey questions investigated “the content” of these conversations. Results: Parents reported having more health-focused conversations with their child compared to weight-focused conversations; parents of children who were overweight had more frequent health- and weight-focused conversations than parents of children who were not overweight. The most frequent location for these conversations was during a family meal. In addition, parental health- and weight-focused conversations were more common with overweight children (p < 0.05). Open-ended, write-in responses from parents for both health- and weight-focused conversations included conversations about moderation/portion control, unhealthy foods, and healthy foods. Discussion: Open-ended, write-in results suggested that parental conversations about healthy eating were similar to conversations about weight. Results of this mixed-methods study provide an incremental next step in better understanding the nature of parental health- and weight-focused conversations with children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-143
Number of pages7
JournalEating Behaviors
Volume29
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research is supported by grant number R56HL116403 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and by grant number R21DK091619 from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease . Content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease or the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Childhood obesity
  • Children
  • Healthy eating
  • Parenting
  • Weight-focused conversations

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