Lower family income is related to increased weight status in children. However, limited research has examined protective factors against weight gain for low-SES children. Research has posited that having healthy weight parents may represent one protective factor against increased weight status in lower income children, however little research has quantitatively examined this claim. The purpose of this study was to examine parental BMI as a potential moderator of the relation between family income and adolescent BMI percentile. Participants were 149 adolescents (Mage=13.7;51%female; MBMI percentile=67.27) and their parents (MBMI=30.44;94.6%female) who participated in a larger study examining stress and adolescent obesity. Objective height (stadiometer) and weight (digital scale) were measured in triplicate with no shoes and light clothing. Parental BMI and child BMI percentile for age and gender were calculated from height and weight measurements. Parents reported annual household income before taxes each year (M=53,086, SD=49,128). Consistent with previous research, income significantly predicted adolescent BMI percentile within the current study, F(1,147)=8.18, pF(1,145)=2.89. This study supports the association between lower family income and higher child BMI percentile. The findings suggest the possibility that having a healthy weight parent is likely not a protective factor against increased weight status in low-income children. Therefore, significant gaps remain in understanding factors which may be protective against weight gain in low-income adolescents.
Examining the Relation between Weight Control Strategies and Eating Disorder Symptomatology in First Year College Females03/11/2015
Examining the Relation between Weight Control Strategies and Eating Disorder Symptomatology in First Year College Females
Problem: Weight management strategies are important for preventing weight gain, but less is known about whether young adults engaging in weight control strategies may be at risk for eating disorders. This study investigated the association between weight control strategies and eating disorder symptomatology among female college freshmen.
Methods: 69 female college freshmen were assessed within the first two months of college. Height and weight were measured objectively and BMI was calculated. Eating disorder symptomatology was assessed using the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q). Weight control strategies were measured using the Weight Control Strategies Scale (WCSS).
Results: Findings from hierarchical linear regression suggested that, after controlling for current BMI, WCSS scores predicted EDE-Q scores. In females transitioning to college, using weight control strategies predicts eating disorder symptomatology. It is important to monitor female freshmen to ensure weight control strategies do not lead to the development of an eating disorder.
Keywords: Eating Disorders; Weight Management
Luce, K. H., & Crowther, J. H. (1999). The reliability of the eating disorder examination—Self‐report questionnaire version (EDE‐Q). International Journal of Eating Disorders, 25(3), 349-351.
Pinto, A. M., Fava, J. L., Raynor, H. A., LaRose, J. G., & Wing, R. R. (2013). Development and validation of the weight control strategies scale. Obesity,21(12), 2429-2436.
Parental experiential avoidance (EA) refers to a parent’s unwillingness or inability to engage in their children’s problem events. Although parental EA has been examined in the context of children’s anxiety symptoms, research is needed to understand how parental EA relates to children’s health habits (e.g. fruit/vegetable consumption, physical activity). Families at high risk for obesity, such as low-income families, may be more likely to avoid addressing health habits. This study investigated the role of parental EA associated with health habits in youth and examined differences in income related to parental EA.
Parents of youth ages 7-17 were recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk to complete an online survey examining risks for pediatric obesity. Parent-report questionnaires included: Parental Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (measure of EA; PAAQ), reported height and weight for parent and child, annual household income, and Healthy Habits Assessment total scores assessing daily health habits.
After controlling for parent BMI, greater parental EA was associated with poorer health habits, explaining 4.4% additional variance in the model. Parents of youth whose income was below the median U.S. household income had greater parental EA than parents whose income was above the median. In the context of health habits, parents’ inaction and unwillingness through EA may translate to a lack of limits set on daily sedentary behavior, limited encouragement for physical activity, and a lack of monitoring in healthy eating. Future research is needed to better understand how income disparities influence parental EA and related health habits.
Problem: Youth from low-income households are at a disproportionately higher risk for obesity. Examining the relationship between income and healthy family behaviors may help identify future points of intervention to reduce pediatric obesity health disparities. Health promoting family behaviors may include healthy eating behaviors (e.g., minimal sweetened beverages), physical activity, and family mealtime routines. This study examined whether income was associated with weight-related family health behaviors.
Methods: Parents (N=67;95% female; 85% white) of adolescents (12-17) completed measures assessing family health behaviors (Family Health Behaviors Scale (FHBS); α=.79); and income (M=84,676, SD=52,076) as a part of a larger study examining risks for adolescent obesity. Objective height (stadiometer) and weight (digital scale) were used to calculate parent BMI (M=29.24,SD=7.48;66% overweight or obese) and adolescent BMI percentile for age-and-gender (M=63.95,SD=28.1;33% overweight or obese).
Results: Hierarchical linear regression suggested that, after controlling for parent BMI, lower family income was associated with lower scores on the FHBS (β=.277; p<0.05; R2=0.31). Families below the 200% poverty threshold engaged in significantly fewer health promoting family behaviors (t(60) = 2.45, p <.05). Results showed no association between income and child BMI percentile (p > .05). Findings from this study suggest, even after accounting for parental BMI, lower family income is associated with parental report of fewer health promoting family behaviors. Considering these healthy family behaviors may be especially important given that they may protect against obesity. Future research is needed to determine whether targeted health behaviors towards lower-income families may minimize obesity risk in low-income adolescents.
Examining the Relation between Internalizing Symptoms and Weight Change among Freshman Transitioning to College: Does Physical Inactivity Exacerbate Risk for Weight Gain?04/09/2019
The transition to college is associated with higher levels of internalizing symptoms (i.e. depression, stress, anxiety) and weight gain. Physical activity may reduce the risk of weight gain among college freshman. Our study aims to examine the individual relations between internalizing symptoms and weight gain during students’ first semester in college and if physical inactivity exacerbates these relations. College freshman (N=65, 72% female; 72% White) were part of a larger longitudinal study examining the effect of stress on weight gain during the first year of college. Internalizing symptoms were assessed using DASS-21 depression, anxiety, and stress subscales (α=.84,.79,.84). Physical activity frequency was assessed using two self-reported items from the Arlington Physical Activity Survey. The overall model was trending toward significance, F(3, 61)=2.20, p=.097. However, depressive symptoms predicted more weight gain in students with low levels of physical activity. Physical activity significantly moderated this relation, F(1, 61)=5.63, p< .05. Among college freshman, higher levels of depressive symptoms and stress may increase risk for weight gain at the end of the first semester. In addition, physical inactivity may exacerbate the risk for weight gain among freshman experiencing higher levels of depressive symptoms. Future research should consider the possible benefits of physical activity for freshman experiencing depressive symptoms entering college.