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