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DJ Abatemarco, Department of Pediatrics, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA


The purpose of this pilot study was to describe parental perceptions of obesity-related behaviors in young children and parental self-efficacy managing these behaviors. Fifty-nine parents of children between the ages of four and seven presenting to a tertiary care weight management clinic completed the Lifestyle Behavior Checklist, assessing the degree to which they felt twenty-five obesity-related behaviors were a problem in their child (Behavior Problem Score) and their confidence managing each of these behaviors (Parent Confidence Score). Scores were compared between subgroups based on demographics, family psychosocial factors, and child weight status. This was a diverse population with significant need for intervention, with more than half of children being of Hispanic ethnicity and having Medicaid insurance and more than three-fourths of children having severe obesity. Sixty percent of children had clinically abnormal Behavior Problem Scores and seventy percent of parents reported clinically abnormal Parent Confidence Scores. Non-Hispanic children, children of families reporting food insecurity, and children with severe obesity were reported to have higher Behavior Problem Scores. Parent Confidence Score was lower among Hispanic parents and parents who did not graduate from high school. This study highlights the need to assess parental perception of obesity-related behaviors and parental confidence managing these behaviors as part of pediatric obesity care. Culturally-appropriate and literacy-sensitive interventions for parents targeting the management of obesity-related behaviors may be an important area of research to reduce the public health burden of childhood obesity. Findings from this study have resulted in two publications (in Patient Education and Counseling and Health Behavior and Policy Review) and submission of a proposal to the NICHD for a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award.

Presentation: 26 minutes