Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Health Promotion, Education and Behavior

First Advisor

Sonya J Jones

Abstract

The rate of obesity among children and adolescents has been dramatically increasing over the past thirty years. There are multi-level influences on both children and adolescents, including parental influence, which has minimally been examined in terms of the association between parent involvement and student academic achievement. The role that parental involvement plays is not clearly understood in adolescent fruit and vegetable consumption or in body mass index (BMI). In this study, child and parent data were used from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten class (ECLS-K). Linear regression models were created to analyze change in BMI z-scores, and change in fruit and vegetable consumption between fifth and eighth-grade. Five independent parenting variables were considered: school involvement, rules for television, rules at home, communication about friends and school, and communication about health topics. The results indicated that parenting practices have an effect on adolescent BMI and on fruit and vegetable consumption. The parenting practices that had statistically significant positive relationships with fruit and vegetable consumption were school involvement, rules at home, and communication about friends and school. The parenting practices that had statistically significant inverse relationships with the change in BMI z-score were rules for television and school involvement. This is an important finding that suggests improving parenting skills and practices should be protective of children's health.

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