Evaluation of Home Environmental Factors of Childhood Obesity: A Comparison of Assessors
Whitten, Jennifer Loucks
MetadataShow full item record
Evaluation of Environmental Factors of Childhood Obesity: A Comparison of Assessors Jennifer Whitten Chair of the Supervisory Committee: Professor Brian Saelens Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine how accurately parents were able to assess the home environmental factors that may impact childhood obesity. Methods: Parents of 81 families that had completed a baseline time point in a broader Seattle Children's Hospital research study on childhood obesity were asked to identify factors in their home that may impact childhood obesity. Researchers then visited the home and conducted an inventory of the same factors that the parents were also asked to quantify with the same assessment. A quantitative analysis of the data using T-tests and regressions was conducted in order to determine how accurately the parents portrayed the home environment. Result: The data analysis found statistically significant results that parents underestimated the amount of unhealthy foods and overestimated the amounts of healthy foods when compared to the researchers' findings at the residence. The analysis also found statistically significant results that parents underestimated the amount of physical activity equipment in the home when compared the researchers' findings. Conclusions: In general, what parents presented from memory was a substantially healthier food environment for the child than was identified by researchers when conducting home visits. Compared to what the staff member found within the residence, parents underestimated unhealthy foods and overestimated healthy foods. Surprisingly, the opposite held true when evaluating physical activity equipment in the home, as parents underestimated the amount of physical activity equipment. Future qualitative analysis would be appropriate to further explore these concepts to determine if the parental misperception of the home environment is benign and due to general inaccuracy or a misunderstanding of the survey, or if parental misperception is due to an actual skewed view of the overall healthiness of their home environment. Understanding why parents misperceived the home environment will help tailor future intervention efforts by providing answers about whether there is a need for parental education on how to accurately view the home.
- Health services