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ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Healthy Body Weight Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317269

Research Project: Dietary Guidelines Adherence and Healthy Body Weight Maintenance

Location: Healthy Body Weight Research

Title: Parent, but not teacher, weight bias correlates with nutritional risk in preschool children

Author
item Whigham, Leah - The Paso Del Norte Institute For Healthy Living
item Redelfs, Alisha - The Paso Del Norte Institute For Healthy Living
item Kehn, Andre - University Of North Dakota
item Roemmich, James
item Tande, Desiree - University Of North Dakota

Submitted to: Annual Scientific Meeting NAASO, The Obesity Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/14/2015
Publication Date: 10/26/2015
Citation: Whigham, L.D., Redelfs, A., Kehn, A., Roemmich, J.N., Tande, D.L. 2015. Parent, but not teacher, weight bias correlates with nutritional risk in preschool children. Annual Scientific Meeting NAASO, The Obesity Society. Obesity 2015 Abstract Book; T-P-3578.

Interpretive Summary: Background: Maladaptive eating behaviors have been reported among youth who report experiencing weight bias, so it is important to study whether nutritional risk and zBMI of young children correlate with weight biases held by caregivers. A previous analysis of these data showed that nutritional risk, but not BMI, predicted cognitive outcomes of preschoolers. Here, we extend that analysis by testing obesity bias as a moderator of the relationship between nutritional risk and cognitive outcomes. Methods: Participants were children aged 3-5 y, their guardians, and teachers. Guardians completed NutriSTEP (nutritional risk) and BRIEF-P (cognitive and behavior outcomes) questionnaires. Teachers and guardians completed the Fat Phobia short form. BMI z-score was calculated from height and weight. Results: BMI z-scores of children: .7 ± 1.1 (mean ± SD, n=41). Parents’ weight bias scores were greater than teachers’: 3.1±.8 (n=47) vs. 2.4±.4 (n=9), t=6.26 (df 46), p<.001, cohen’s d=.91. Older parents (f=4.16, p<.05, eta sq=.09) and parents with income over $40,000 (f=7.17, p<.01, eta sq=.14) had greater bias. There were no differences in parent or teacher bias by child gender, age, or ethnicity; no zBMI differences across parent age, income, or household size; or child gender, age or ethnicity. Parent, but not teacher, bias scores correlated with NutriSTEP score (r= -.48, p<.001; r= -.22, p>.1); neither bias score correlated with zBMI or cognitive outcomes. Conclusions: Obesity bias did not moderate the relationship between nutritional risk and cognitive outcomes. The mean scores for parents reflect a moderate level of bias compared to teachers who expressed more neutral attitudes. It will be important to examine these constructs with larger samples. The presence of bias among parents and its correlation with nutritional risk in children suggests the importance of further investigation to examine the extent to which parental weight biases influence children’s health outcomes.

Technical Abstract: Background: Maladaptive eating behaviors have been reported among youth who report experiencing weight bias, so it is important to study whether nutritional risk and zBMI of young children correlate with weight biases held by caregivers. A previous analysis of these data showed that nutritional risk, but not BMI, predicted cognitive outcomes of preschoolers. Here, we extend that analysis by testing obesity bias as a moderator of the relationship between nutritional risk and cognitive outcomes. Methods: Participants were children aged 3-5 y, their guardians, and teachers. Guardians completed NutriSTEP (nutritional risk) and BRIEF-P (cognitive and behavior outcomes) questionnaires. Teachers and guardians completed the Fat Phobia short form. BMI z-score was calculated from height and weight. Results: BMI z-scores of children: .7 ± 1.1 (mean ± SD, n=41). Parents’ weight bias scores were greater than teachers’: 3.1±.8 (n=47) vs. 2.4±.4 (n=9), t=6.26 (df 46), p<.001, cohen’s d=.91. Older parents (f=4.16, p<.05, eta sq=.09) and parents with income over $40,000 (f=7.17, p<.01, eta sq=.14) had greater bias. There were no differences in parent or teacher bias by child gender, age, or ethnicity; no zBMI differences across parent age, income, or household size; or child gender, age or ethnicity. Parent, but not teacher, bias scores correlated with NutriSTEP score (r= -.48, p<.001; r= -.22, p>.1); neither bias score correlated with zBMI or cognitive outcomes. Conclusions: Obesity bias did not moderate the relationship between nutritional risk and cognitive outcomes. The mean scores for parents reflect a moderate level of bias compared to teachers who expressed more neutral attitudes. It will be important to examine these constructs with larger samples. The presence of bias among parents and its correlation with nutritional risk in children suggests the importance of further investigation to examine the extent to which parental weight biases influence children’s health outcomes.