157 Parental meal planning habits and children’s bmi

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Abstract

Purpose of study

According to the Community Indicators Report by San Bernardino County, in 2015 an average of 40.5% of San Bernardino County students was overweight or obese, which was an increase from 39.4% from the prior year. Some factors that may influence children’s weight are the parent’s own meal planning habits. The aim of this study is to assess possible associations between parental meal planning habits and their children’s BMI.

Methods used

Operation FIT is a week-long summer day camp that hosts children aged 9–15 years of age from San Bernardino County, referred by doctors for their unhealthy weight (BMI >85%). They are encouraged to exercise throughout the day and educated on basic nutrition to empower them with the tools needed to live healthy lives. Parents were given surveys which included three questions regarding their meal planning habits: taking time to plan meals for the week, taking a shopping list to the store, or knowing what to eat for supper. These answers were then compared to their children’s BMI using logistic regression models.

Summary of results

A Logistic regression with a sample size of n=274 was conducted to assess if parental planning habits predict children BMI. The data shows that parents that know what they or the family will eat for supper are 1.74 units more likely to have obese children. There was no association between taking time to plan meals for the week and parents taking a shopping list to the store. In addition, when all variables are held constant, a significant association was found among those children that speak Spanish only and are Hispanic with being overweight/obese.

Conclusions

We believe that this survey was flawed in that the survey question that was found to be significant is confusing because it requires a ‘no’ response for an affirmative answer. Because of this, as well as there being no correlation in the other two questions, it is plausible that parental meal planning has no effect on children’s BMI. This is a potential area of concern that can be further explored with future studies with improved survey questioning.

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