Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #382144

Research Project: Preventing the Development of Childhood Obesity

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Exploring qualities of ethnically diverse parents associated with healthy home food and activity environment of toddlers

item CEPNI, ALIYE - University Of Houston
item TAYLOR, ASHLEY - University Of Houston
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item MORAN, NANCY - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item OLVERA, NORMA - University Of Houston
item O'CONNOR, DANIEL - University Of Houston
item JOHNSTON, CRAIG - University Of Houston
item LEDOUX, TRACEY - University Of Houston

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/7/2021
Publication Date: 6/8/2021
Citation: Cepni, A.B., Taylor, A., Thompson, D.J., Moran, N.E., Olvera, N., O'Connor, D.P., Johnston, C.A., Ledoux, T.A. 2021. Exploring qualities of ethnically diverse parents associated with healthy home food and activity environment of toddlers [abstract]. International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) Annual Conference (Virtual). June 8-10, 2021. Oral presentation.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The home environment and parents' roles have received much attention in early childhood obesity prevention research. However, the possible reciprocal relationship between environment and the parent is seldom addressed. This is critical because parents with certain parenting styles, feeding practices, and weight status may need additional support creating home environments that facilitate children's health behaviors. Therefore, this study aimed to describe parental qualities associated with healthy home food and activity environment of children. This cross-sectional study utilized baseline data from a randomized control pilot study of a wellness program, which included a sample of 50 ethnically diverse parents (84% mothers, Mean age=31.7 years) and their toddler age child (12-36 months). Parental BMI was calculated via self-reported weight and height data. Parents completed the Comprehensive General Parenting Questionnaire (van der Horst and Sleddens 2017) and Structure and Control in Parent Feeding (Savage et al. 2017) questionnaire. Health behavior resources, barriers, social norms, and policies in the home were assessed using the Healthy Home Survey (Bryant et al. 2008), the Home Food Inventory (Fulkerson et al. 2008), the Sleep Environment Questionnaire (Wilson et al. 2014), and items developed for this study. To calculate one home environment composite score, scores on all home environment items were standardized and then summed. Items related to obesogenic behaviors were reverse scored; therefore, a higher score would represent a healthier home environment. Pearson's correlations tested associations between parental qualities and healthy home environment. Most parents were Hispanic/Latino (38%), and African American (32%), and their mean BMI was 28.4 kg/m2. Parental BMI (r=-0.306; p=0.032) and coercive control (r=-0.333; p=0.022) were inversely correlated with healthy home environment. Parental use of structure in general parenting and in feeding practice were related to overall home environment (r=0.336; p=0.026) and home food environment scores (r=0.415; p=0.003), respectively. Preliminary evidence suggests that parents, who provide clear and consistent communication regarding expectations, set age-appropriate limits, avoid pressure to control their children's behaviors, and have a lower weight status, live in a home environment that supports their children's healthy eating, activity, and sleep behaviors development.