196723 Weight status, current eating habits, and intention to change in West Virginia parents and adolescents

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 12:50 PM

Kimberly Bosworth Blake, PharmD, MBA , Department of Pharmaceutical Systems and Policy, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Carole V. Harris, PhD , Health Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Andrew S. Bradlyn, PhD , Health Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Nancy O'Hara Tompkins, PhD , Prevention Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
George A. Kelley, DA , Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Lucas C. Moore, EdD , Health Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Laurie Abildso, MS , Health Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Jessica Coffman, MA , Health Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Melanie Purkey, MS , Office of Healthy Schools, West Virginia Department of Education, Charleston, WV
Don Chapman, MS , Office of Healthy Schools, West Virginia Department of Education, Charleston, WV
Keri Kennedy, MPH , Office of Child Nutrition, West Virginia Department of Education, Charleston, WV
Kristy Blower, MA , Office of Child Nutrition, West Virginia Department of Education, Charleston, WV
OBJECTIVE: Obesity is a major public health concern in the United States and West Virginia. This study assessed parent and adolescent eating habits, efforts to make dietary changes, and the relationship between these and weight status.

METHOD: Telephone interviews were administered to a stratified, random sample of 1500 parents and 420 adolescents. Questions included those regarding current diet, recent changes in diet, knowledge of obesity health risks, weight status perceptions, and self-reported height and weight.

RESULTS: Based on self-reported height and weight, 66% of parents and 31% of adolescents were classified as overweight or obese. Fifty-two percent of parents and 59% of adolescents reported improving their diets in the past month. This differed significantly by weight category in parents (p<.001). Despite these efforts, 89% of parents and 86% of adolescents reported eating less than the recommended daily amounts of fruits and vegetables. Parents' descriptions of child weight status significantly underestimated the number of children classified as overweight and obese by body mass index percentiles (p<.001). Eighteen percent of parents who described their child as overweight or obese were not concerned about child weight. Less than a third of parents correctly linked childhood obesity to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and asthma.

CONCLUSIONS: Although a majority of parents and adolescents reported efforts to improve their diets, both groups fell short of current guidelines. Parents underestimated their child's weight status and the potential dangers of childhood obesity. The importance of improvement in perceptions of obesity risk and severity is discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the prevalence of overweight and obesity among parents and adolescents in West Virginia. 2. Explain the association between parentsí perception and actual weight status of their children and how this may influence nutrition behavior. 3. Discuss the importance of improving accuracy of perceptions of risk and health consequences of obesity in parents and adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescents, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in the analysis as a research assistant on a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to evaluate the impact of the West Virginia Healthy Lifestyles Act of 2005. I am currently pursuing a PhD in Health Outcomes Research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.