Parental translation into practice of healthy eating and active play messages and the impact on childhood obesity: A mixed methods study

Alyssa Huxtable, Lynne Millar, Penelope Love, Colin Bell, Jill Whelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Childhood obesity is a significant health issue worldwide. Modifiable risk factors in early childhood relate to child healthy eating and active play, and are influenced by parents. The aim of the study was two-fold. Firstly, to determine the weight status of children aged between birth and 3.5 years in a rural and remote area of Australia. Secondly, to explore the relationship between child weight status and translation of advice on healthy eating and active play provided to parents by local, nurse-led, Maternal Child Health (MCH) services. Measured anthropometric data (n = 438) were provided by MCH services. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with two MCH nurses and 15 parents. Prevalence of overweight/obesity was calculated. Local childhood overweight/obesity prevalence was lower than the national average at age 3.5 years (11.38%; 20%). Parents identified the MCH service as a key source of healthy eating and active play advice and reported mostly following recommendations but struggling with screen time and fussy eating recommendations. We observed a relaxation in parent attitudes towards healthy child behaviours which coincided with a trend towards obesity from 12 months (p < 0.001). MCH services provide useful and effective advice to parents but ongoing support is required to prevent obesity later in childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Article number545
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalNutrients
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

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