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He Said, She Said: Examining Parental Concordance on Home Environment Factors and Adolescent Health Behaviors and Weight Status

      Abstract

      Background

      Few studies have examined concordance/discordance between caregivers to identify whether caregivers see familial and parental factors in the home environment similarly or differently and whether the agreement or disagreement is related to adolescent obesity risk. Answers to these questions are important and may inform whether family-based childhood obesity interventions need to target both parents.

      Objective

      The main objective of the study was to examine whether and how parental concordance/discordance on factors in the home environment (eg, importance of family meals, parent feeding practices, encouraging child physical activity, and limit setting on child screen time) are associated with adolescent health behaviors and weight status.

      Design

      Data from two linked population-based studies were used in cross-sectional analyses. Linear regression models examined associations between parental concordance/discordance on home environment factors and adolescents’ health behaviors and weight status.

      Participant/settings

      Racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse adolescents (n=1,052; 54% girls; mean age=14.3 years) and their parents (n=2,104; 52% women; mean age=41.0 years) from Minneapolis and St Paul, MN, participated in the study. Anthropometric assessments and surveys were completed at school by adolescents and surveys were completed at home by parents.

      Results

      Parental concordance on home environment factors was high for some factors (eg, 68% concordance on not pressuring adolescent to eat) and low for other factors (eg, 2% concordance on parent engaging in physically activity with child 4+ hours per week). Parental concordance on positive home environment factors (eg, frequency of family meals) was associated with more adolescent healthful eating patterns and hours of physical activity (P<0.05), but not consistently. When parents were discordant, adolescents had higher consumption of fast food and more unhealthy weight control behaviors (P<0.05), but not consistently.

      Conclusions

      Results suggest there is some degree of parental concordance on home environment factors; however, the results were inconsistent and approximately one-third of parents were discordant on these factors. Future research is needed to further examine the role of parental concordance/discordance on adolescent health behaviors and weight status.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      J. M. Berge is an associate professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis.

      Biography

      K. A. Loth is an assistant professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis.

      Biography

      R. F. MacLehose is an associate professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

      Biography

      C. Meyer is a PhD student, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

      Biography

      D. Neumark-Sztainer is a professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

      Biography

      K. Didericksen is an assistant professor, Department of Child Development and Family Relations, East Carolina University, Greenville.