Purpose: The purpose of this study was to inform public policy opportunities to reduce childhood obesity by identifying parents' perceptions of factors contributing to childhood obesity, attribution of responsibility, and the extent of their support for public prevention policies with attention to socio-economic status.
Design and methods: In 2015, 2066 parent-child dyads across socio-economic strata from 43 randomly selected schools in Ankara completed surveys and measurements to examine perceptions, attribution, and prevention policies related to childhood obesity.
Results: Parents across the socio-demographic spectrum recognized obesity as a serious problem. Unhealthy food availability was identified as the leading cause of while industry and media were credited with having the greatest responsibility for childhood obesity. There was strong public support for policy strategies targeting schools, marketing, and the built environment, though support tempered as socio-economic status and parental education decreased.
Conclusions: This survey provided insight into parents' knowledge and beliefs surrounding childhood obesity as well as their endorsement of related prevention strategies. Educational messages that address variations in SES to describe the causes of childhood obesity and connect those causes to actionable community prevention strategies may improve community support for enhanced policy actions within and beyond school settings.
Keywords: Children; International health; Nutrition; Policy; Prevention; Social class.
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