142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Setting rules to improve healthy behavior: The relationship between family rules and children's demographics, dietary and sedentary activities, and weight status

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 10:50 AM - 11:10 AM

Alyssa M. Lederer, MPH, CHES , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Mindy Hightower King, PhD , Center on Education and Lifelong Learning, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Nayoung Kim, MA , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Introduction:Parents can be influential in helping their children to modify dietary and sedentary behaviors, which are major contributors to obesity and overall health. The use of family rules to facilitate behavioral change among children is an emerging area of research. This study examined the demographic profile of children with family rules; the relationship between family rules and six eating and screen time behaviors: fast food, soda, and fruit/vegetable consumption, television, computer, and video game use; and the association between family rules and children’s weight status.

Methods: Measures included self-reported behavioral data and professionally collected anthropomorphic data from 4th-8thgrade students at 16 schools (N=2,819) in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. Statistical analyses included independent samples t-tests, cross-tabulations, and linear and binary regressions.

Results: Thirty-six percent of students had dietary rules and 22.3%-31.8% had rules for various screen time activities. The composition of students with specific rules varied, but in general, younger, female, white, and low SES students were more likely to have rules than their counterparts. Family rules were associated with healthier outcomes for all six behaviors (ps<.001), even after controlling for demographics. However, family rules were not associated with children’s weight status.

Discussion: Family rules may be an underutilized strategy to promote healthier eating habits and decrease sedentary behavior. While a direct link between family rules and weight status was not found, family rules may serve as an intermediary mechanism to curb childhood obesity. Recommended strategies for encouraging family rules and areas for future research will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List the demographic characteristics of children most likely to have family rules about dietary and sedentary behaviors. Describe the association between having specific family rules about diet and sedentary activities and children’s corresponding behaviors. Discuss ways to promote family rules to parents and areas for future research.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student in Health Behavior at Indiana University. I conducted this study and am the Graduate Research Assistant for the overall research project that these data are from.
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.

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