Childhood Obesity

Junghyun Lim, Kirsten K. Davison, Janine M. Jurkowski*, Christine M. Horan, E. John Orav, Neil Kamdar, Lauren G. Fiechtner, and Elsie M. Taveras


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.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates, Affiliates, and Staff