An Exploration into Parental Influence on Snacking Trends and It’s Possible Impact on Childhood Obesity in the United States
Gordenstein, Samantha Jill
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background – Childhood obesity is a current major public health concern in the United States. Overconsumption of food and lack of physical activity are the main concerns relating to the obesity epidemic. Snacking has been found as a main contributor to the daily energy consumption in children. Methods – A cross-sectional survey was completed by 40 American mothers and fathers who have children between the ages of 0-18 years old. The self-administered questionnaire sought to gather information on parent’s influence on their child’s snacking habits. These influences were then analysed based on how they may lead to childhood obesity. The results were analysed using Chi Squared data analysis tests on Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 23. Results – Parental attendance at meal times, specifically dinner, is positively associated with an increased fruit intake in children (p=0.049). Savory snacks were found to be the highest reported snack type out of the six categories: sweet, savoury, vegetables, fruit, cheese, and nuts. Additional findings from the study express that lack of parental influence on physical activity, as well as childhood awareness of health, potentially impact the high rates of childhood obesity in America. Conclusions – This study has highlighted that parental influence, on lifestyle habits, vastly contributes to rates of childhood obesity in America. Additional attention is needed to further understand the implications that parental influence has on children’s snacking habits and how this may affect incidence of childhood obesity. Keywords – Children, Parents, Obesity, Snacking, American
BSc (Hons) Public Health Nutrition
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