Background: Few studies have examined correlates of resource empowerment among parents of children with overweight or obesity.
Methods: We studied baseline data of 721 parent-child pairs participating in the Connect for Health randomized trial being conducted at six pediatric practices in Massachusetts. Parents completed the child weight management subscale (n = 5 items; 4-point response scale) of the Parent Resource Empowerment Scale; items were averaged to create a summary empowerment score. We used linear regression to examine the independent effects of child (age, sex, and race/ethnicity), parent/household characteristics (age, education, annual household income, BMI category, perceived stress, and their ratings of their healthcare quality), and neighborhood median household income, on parental resource empowerment.
Results: Mean (SD) child age was 7.7 years (2.9) and mean (SD) BMI z-score was 1.9 (0.5); 34% of children were white, 32% black, 22% Hispanic, 5% Asian, and 6% multiracial/other. The mean parental empowerment score was 2.95 (SD = 0.56; range = 1-4). In adjusted models, parents of older children [β -0.03 (95% CI: -0.04, -0.01)], Hispanic children [-0.14 (-0.26, -0.03)], those with annual household income less than $20,000 [-0.16 (-0.29, -0.02)], those with BMI ≥30.0 kg/m2 [-0.17 (-0.28, -0.07)], and those who reported receiving lower quality of obesity-related care [-0.05 (-0.07, -0.03)] felt less empowered about resources to support their child's healthy body weight.
Conclusions: Parental resource empowerment is influenced by parent and child characteristics as well as the quality of their obesity-related care. These findings could help inform equitable, family-centered approaches to improve parental resource empowerment.
Keywords: childhood; empowerment; obesity; overweight; parental resources.