Disparities in parent confidence managing child weight-related behaviors

Patient Educ Couns. 2015 Jan;98(1):85-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.10.016. Epub 2014 Oct 28.


Objective: To describe ethnic disparities in parental confidence managing child weight-related behaviors.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey of 59 parents of children with obesity between 4 and 7 years of age presenting to a tertiary care pediatric weight management clinic. Parents completed a validated measure assessing their confidence managing their child's weight-related behaviors (parent confidence score). Student's t-tests and linear regression analyses were used to determine parent and child characteristics associated with parent confidence score.

Results: Families were ethnically diverse with half being of Hispanic ethnicity. Mean parent confidence score was 159 (SD 66) with 71% of parents with parent confidence scores below the clinical cut-off for the measure. Parent confidence score was lower among Hispanic (mean 133, SD 67) compared to non-Hispanic parents (mean 184, SD 55, p < 0.01). Parent confidence score was most strongly associated with parental ethnicity (β = -0.39, p = 0.002, adjusted R(2) = 0.14).

Conclusion: Parental confidence managing weight-related behaviors was low among parents of young obese children, especially those of Hispanic ethnicity.

Practice implications: This study highlights the need to assess parental confidence in managing weight-related behaviors as part of pediatric obesity care and to provide counseling to improve parental management of weight-related behaviors in a culturally-appropriate manner.

Keywords: Child obesity; Ethnic disparities; Motivational interviewing; Parent confidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Motivational Interviewing*
  • Parent-Child Relations / ethnology*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / ethnology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / psychology
  • Self Efficacy