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Open Access Parent-child behavioural patterns related to pre-schoolers' overweight/obesity

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Background: The increasing prevalence of childhood obesity is a global concern. Although childhood obesity has grown as a result of a complex array of interactions among multiple behavioural, biological, and environmental factors, excessive screen time (ST) and low levels of physical activity (PA) are often discussed as causal factors. Therefore, it is beneficial to identify risky family behavioural patterns contributing to the increasing prevalence of obesity even in pre-schoolers. Objective: The main aim of the study was to assess whether parental obesity and parent-child behavioural patterns (PA and ST) affect the odds of overweight/obesity in 4-to-7-year-old preschool children. Methods: We analysed seven-day PA and ST behaviour among families with pre-schoolers that included 194 preschool children (88 girls and 106 boys) and their parents (165 mothers and 111 fathers). PA was monitored by means of unsealed Yamax pedometers for at least eight hours a day over seven consecutive days during spring (April/May) and autumn (September/October) of 2015. ST was recorded by parents on family log book sheets. To assess the odds of parents' obesity and PA/ST variables in relation to child overweight/obesity, a logistic regression (backward method) was used. Results: Most children (n = 157) reported normal weight (87 boys, 70 girls), 37 children were overweight or obese (19 boys, 18 girls). Children's excessive ST (> 1 hour/day) (OR: 5.65/33.19 on weekdays/weekends), mothers' obesity (OR: 13.80/28.84 on weekdays/weekends), mothers' excessive ST (> 2 hours/ day) (OR: 32.46 at weekends), and children's male gender (OR: 38.69 at weekends) were significantly (p < .05) associated with higher odds of overweight/obesity in the preschool children. Conclusions: Uncovering parent-child behavioural patterns provides insight into the lifestyle of families with pre-schoolers and is a source of valuable information for designing and implementing family-based intervention programmes aimed at reducing obesity. Especially, weekends provide a suitable space for the implementation of joint family programmes aimed at reducing sedentary behaviour.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University Olomouc, Olomouc, Czech Republic 2: Faculty of Science, Pavol Josef Šafárik University in Košice, Košice, Slovak Republic; 3: Department of Natural and Human Sciences, Prevention and Health Promotion, Heidelberg University of Education, Heidelberg, Germany

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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