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Parental Perspectives on Preschool Children’s Lifestyle: quantitative and qualitative aspects
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Children’s lifestyle has changed significantly during the recent decades, with an increasing prevalence of obesity as one outcome. Parents are usually the most influential people in young children’s lives. The overall aim of this thesis was to investigate parental perspectives on factors associated with 3-6 year-old children’s lifestyle, regarding eating habits and physical activity. Another objective was to compare different approaches to conducting postal questionnaires in terms of response rate, time consumption and cost-efficiency. The samples in the four studies were parents of 6-year-olds (n=158), parents of 3-year-olds (n=873), parents of 4-year-olds (n=30) and parents of 3-year-olds (n=353). In the first study, a questionnaire regarding practices and attitudes towards their child’s lifestyle, perceived obstacles and desired support was used. The second study included the Swedish Parenthood Stress Questionnaire (SPSQ), the Relationship Questionnaire (RQ) and the CFQ (Child Feeding Questionnaire). Parents also reported their child’s TV-viewing habits. The child’s measured height, weight and BMI were obtained from a register, BASTA. In the third study, focus group interviews were performed. The fourth study investigated three types of consent given for participation in a survey. The results showed that parents’ attitudes towards children’s lifestyle, in general, were “healthier” than their reports of their child’s daily practices. The practices differed depending on the parents’ educational background. Significant and dose-dependant associations were found between perceived maternal stress and children’s overweight, but also underweight. Parents felt that they were mainly responsible for their preschool child’s lifestyle. However, parents described challenges that limited and obstructed them from providing their child with a healthy lifestyle, citing the need to receive professional and peer support, while also requesting support from society. Allowing respondents to actively decline participation yielded a higher response rate and proved to be the most cost-efficient method for conducting a postal questionnaire.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2011. , 104 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 686
Keyword [en]
eating habits, lifestyle, childhood overweight, parents, perspectives, physical activity, and postal questionnaire
National Category
Pediatrics
Research subject
Pediatrics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-153263ISBN: 978-91-554-8115-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-153263DiVA: diva2:432842
Public defence
2011-09-23, Universitetshuset Sal IX, Övre Slottsgatan 2, Uppsala, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-08-30 Created: 2011-05-09 Last updated: 2011-09-08Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The role of parents' educational background in healthy lifestyle practices and attitudes of their 6-year-old children
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of parents' educational background in healthy lifestyle practices and attitudes of their 6-year-old children
2007 (English)In: Public Health Nutrition, ISSN 1368-9800, E-ISSN 1475-2727, Vol. 10, no 11, 1305-1313 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective The aim of the present study was to examine parents' reported and desired frequencies (practices vs. attitudes) of their 6-year-old children's meals, nutritional intake and lifestyle components, as well as possible obstacles and desired support with respect to higher or lower educational backgrounds.

Design Cross-sectional questionnaire study.

Setting Five elementary schools in Uppsala, Sweden.

Subjects Parents of 176 6-year-old pupils attending the first grade. The total response rate was 89.7%.

Results Parents with a college degree reported that their 6-year-olds had a higher frequency of milk, fruit and vegetable intake, more physical activity and fewer hours watching television compared with parents with a secondary school degree. Congruent to these differences in reported practices, more parents with a college degree desired a higher frequency of milk, fruit and vegetable intake, more physical exercise and less television viewing for their children. Regarding parents' desired meal frequencies during the week, no differences between the groups with higher and lower levels of education were found. Despite similar attitudes, however, parents with a college degree reported that their children ate mostly all meals significantly more often during the week. Both parent groups stated lack of time as the most common obstacle in providing their children with desired lifestyle practices, although parents with a secondary school education added lack of money as a contributing factor.

Conclusions As attitudes are not always reflected in reported practices, it seems a fruitful approach to assess both, as well as obstacles perceived by parents, before planning interventions to enhance healthy lifestyle habits in children.

Keyword
Parents, Lifestyle, Practices, Attitudes, Educational background
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-11027 (URN)10.1017/S1368980007696396 (DOI)000251245400015 ()17381933 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2008-06-25 Created: 2008-06-25 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
2. Family stress and BMI in young children
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Family stress and BMI in young children
Show others...
2010 (English)In: Acta Paediatrica, ISSN 0803-5253, E-ISSN 1651-2227, Vol. 99, no 8, 1205-1212 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate if family stress and parental attachment style are associated with body mass index (BMI) in young children, and identify possible explanations. Methods: A cross-sectional survey with a two-stage design was used. Parents of 873 children participated. They completed a demographic questionnaire, the Swedish Parenthood Stress Questionnaire (SPSQ), the Relationship Questionnaire (RQ) and reported their children's television-viewing habits (as a marker of physical activity). Children's height, weight and BMI were obtained from a general population-based register, BASTA. Associations with over- and underweight in children were assessed using multiple logistic regression analysis. Results: Family stress indicated by SPSQ-score was associated with suboptimal BMI. Maternal, but not paternal, SPSQ-stress score was statistically significantly associated with overweight and underweight, with adjusted odds ratios (and 95% confidence interval) of 4.61 (3.11-6.84; p < 0.001) and 3.08 (1.64-5.81; p < 0.001) respectively. Associations between childhood BMI and parental attachment style were identified, but were not independent of maternal SPSQ-score. Conclusion: Our findings support a role for family stress in development of both overweight and underweight among young children. This is likely to be attributed to behavioural mechanisms but a more direct metabolic influence of stress could also be involved.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-124807 (URN)10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01776.x (DOI)000279438000020 ()20222879 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2010-05-06 Created: 2010-05-06 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. `Children are exposed to temptation all the time´: parents’ lifestyle-related discussions in focus groups
Open this publication in new window or tab >>`Children are exposed to temptation all the time´: parents’ lifestyle-related discussions in focus groups
Show others...
2012 (English)In: Acta Paediatrica, ISSN 0803-5253, E-ISSN 1651-2227, Vol. 101, no 2, 208-215 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim:  To explore parents' perspectives on providing their preschool child with a healthy lifestyle, including obstacles and resources.

Methods:  Five semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted, with 30 parents of 4-year-olds in Sweden. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using Systematic Text Condensation.

Results:  Four themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: Lifestyle -'The way you live is parents' responsibility', Challenges to promote children's healthy lifestyle, Support from professionals, and peers might facilitate, and Request for an overall responsibility from society. Parents felt that they were role models for their child's lifestyle, a concept including many factors. Attractive and tempting sedentary activities and unhealthy foods were perceived as obstacles, and parents were frustrated by the media's contradictory lifestyle messages. Child health services were expected to more actively invite parents to discuss their child's lifestyle issues. Parents desired some collective responsibility for children's lifestyles through agencies, services and media messages that support and promote healthy choices.

Conclusion:  Parents struggled to give their children a healthy lifestyle and the 'temptations' of daily unhealthy choices causing hassles and conflicts. Parents desired professional support from preschool, Child Health Care and a collective responsibility from society with uniform guidelines. Parents groups were mentioned as peer support.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Pediatrics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-153260 (URN)10.1111/j.1651-2227.2011.02446.x (DOI)000298914000027 ()21854450 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2011-05-11 Created: 2011-05-09 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
4. Using different approaches to conducting postal questionnaires affected response rates and cost-efficiency
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Using different approaches to conducting postal questionnaires affected response rates and cost-efficiency
2011 (English)In: Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, ISSN 0895-4356, E-ISSN 1878-5921, Vol. 64, no 10, 1137-1143 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: To compare three different approaches for consent in postal questionnaire in terms of response rate, time consumption, and  cost-efficiency, and to collect a demographic questionnaire for dropout analyses.

Study Design and Setting: Population survey in Sweden. Mothers and fathers (n=600) of three hundred 3-year olds were divided into three groups. One group was asked to Actively Agree to participate in a cover letter and send consent back to receive the main questionnaire. The second group received the cover letter, the consent, and the main questionnaire in the initial mailings, Direct Delivery. The third group received the cover letter and consent form in which they were asked to Actively Decline  participation within 7 days if they did not want to participate. Otherwise, they were sent the main questionnaire. All parents were asked to fill in a demographic questionnaire regardless of whether they wanted to complete the main questionnaire.

Results: The highest response rate was in the Actively Decline mode. The cost-efficiency for this approach was 1.52 compared with Direct Delivery and 1.29 compared with Actively Agree.

Conclusion: Researchers can improve the response rate, time consumption, and cost-efficiency and obtain a demographic questionnaire for dropout analysis by using the Actively Decline approach for postal questionnaires.

 

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-153256 (URN)10.1016/j.jclinepi.2011.01.006 (DOI)000294526700012 ()21524566 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2011-05-09 Created: 2011-05-09 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved

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