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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Research Project #426650

Research Project: The Environment and Children's Eating Behavior

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Project Number: 3092-51000-063-30-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2014
End Date: Mar 31, 2019

Objective 1. No longer applies Objective 2. No longer applies Objective 3. No longer applies Objective 4. Conduct formative research with parents of 8- to 10-year-old African American girls to identify beliefs, values, and practices related to diet, physical activity, sedentary behavior, and body weight. Objective 5. Develop and pilot test a text message-based intervention for parents to test the feasibility of the factors identified in Objective 3 at promoting a healthy home food and activity environment. Objective 6. Develop a model of parent-child interactions in the family eating environment among low-income families (based on direct observations), and determine what aspects of parent-child interactions foster excess calorie intake in children. 6A. Gather descriptive data based on direct observation of parent-child feeding interactions by examining differences in feeding practices as a function of child weight status, child gender, parent ethnicity, and parent weight status. 6B. Determine the effects of parent psychosocial characteristics (depression, marital stress, parenting stress) on feeding practices in low-income Head Start families. 6C. Determine the impact of feeding practices on the dietary intake of head Start children (food groups, energy intake) during the dinner meal. 6D. Model the impact of parent psychosocial characteristics on feeding practices which, in turn, will influence child dietary intake (food groups, energy intake), and child BMI.

Obesity is the most prevalent and severe nutrition related pediatric problem, especially among lower income and ethnic minority children. Most child obesity prevention interventions have not been effective. There has been disagreement about whether this lack of documented success has been due to a) inaccurate measurement for assessing what were really effective programs; b) not understanding what behaviors contribute to obesity; c) not understanding how parents influence those child behaviors; d) not effectively addressing cultural influences; or e) not using intervention procedures that effectively manipulated how parents related to their child. Researchers will identify the child behaviors contributing to obesity among 8- to 10-year-old African American girls; b) conduct formative qualitative research with parents of this age child; and c) develop and assess the feasibility of an innovative text message intervention for parents to change the home food and activity environments. Additionally, researchers propose to a) identify family factors that impact or moderate what parents do to influence their child's diet; b) analyze how feeding styles interrelate with feeding practices to influence child's diet; and c) develop and test sophisticated comprehensive statistical models of these variables. This research addresses several important knowledge gaps, and thereby establish a firm foundation for family-based obesity prevention interventions and evaluations in the future.