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Childhood Obesity and Parent Education


The issue of obesity is now trending globally. The absence of physical activity among individuals struggling with overweight is also prevalent. Moreover, these two problems combined have a great impact on children and may increase premature mortality rates in middle age (Muthuri, Onywera, Tremblay, Broyles, & Fogelholm, 2015). The problems of overweight and lack of physical activity are exposed to numerous implications for morbidity. Nonetheless, parents are also connected to the issues of childhood obesity and insufficient exercise (Muthuri et al., 2015). Therefore, the significance of the paper can be explained by several factors. The researcher is interested in studying the relationships between overweight and parental education, child overweight and physical activity, and investigate the domestic co-occurrence of overweight on a country-wide scale (Muthuri et al., 2015).

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Background and Significance of the Problem

The background of the issue is contingent on several perinatal aspects that include maternal obesity in the period before pregnancy, smoking during pregnancy, and rapid weight gain identified in infants (Birbilis, Moschonis, Mougios, & Manios, 2012). Other parental features that have an impact on the child’s BMI are father’s technical education and being overweight. The results of the study conducted by Birbilis et al. (2012) showed that there is a positive correlation between the maternal BMI and child’s BMI (P=0.05) and a negative correlation between the parents’ education and child’s BMI.

The BMI for children and teens is calculated the same way it is for the adults, but the results of the calculations are interpreted differently (About BMI, 2015). The calculations should be sex-specific due to the different amounts of body fat within several age groups. The amount of body fat also varies between boys/ girls and these differences can be shown visually using a BMI chart displaying the percentile ranking (About BMI, 2015). These rankings are rather important and represent an all-inclusive array of data concerning the 2 to 19-year-old individuals that were collected during the 1960s and late 1980s in the United States of America (Childhood Obesity Trends, 2016). The significance of the problem reviewed in the proposed study consists in the fact that more than 40% of the children (regardless of their sex) are exposed to obesity issues as their BMI is at the level of the 95th percentile or even higher.

Statement of the Problem and Purpose of the Study

The problem of the proposed study is that the number of slightly overweight and obese infants is growing (Daniels, Mallan, Nicholson, Battistutta, & Magarey, 2013). Consequently, we should carefully identify, assess, and evaluate the factors that may become obesity triggers in the future. It is safe to say that the problem of obesity is relevant and should be approached promptly to identify the key premises and eliminate them or to minimize their influence on the children and the prevalence of adverse outcomes in adulthood (the risk of traumatological issues increases by 4.5% and the correlation between high BMI and cancer tumors increases by approximately 5%) (Muthuri et al., 2015).

The researcher is keen on defining the gravity of the impact of each of the identified triggers and proposing methodologies intended to mitigate the adverse effect of parental characteristics. As stated by Daniels et al. (2013), the healthy lifestyle of the parents majorly affects the didactic outcomes in their children (for instance, increases their average grades at school by 0.1-0.4 points) (Daniels et al., 2013). An extensive literature review was conducted to study the nutritional and behavioral patterns inherent in the children and examine the parental factors that affect the perception of overweight (such as father’s practical education and mother’s smoking and nutritional patterns which were proved to increase the risk of premature mortality by 1.2%) (Birbilis et al., 2012). The purpose of this study is to identify the correlations between the children’s BMI and their parents’ level of education to outline the natural outcomes of these correlations.

Research Questions, Hypothesis, and Variables

In children, ages 2 to 12 years, suffering from obesity as shown by BMI, what is the correlation between the parents’ level of education and category of the healthy lifestyle and their child’s BMI?

The research hypothesis of the current study is that parental education and a healthy lifestyle are correlated to the level of obesity in their children. The null hypothesis of the study is that parental education and a healthy lifestyle are not correlated to the level of obesity in their children.

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The demographic variables that will be measured are parents and child age in year, the gender of children as male or female, type of family structure as one or two parents, culture measured as Asian, African American, Hispanic, White, Mixed, or other. Research variables that will be measured are child/s BMI using the formula from CDC (About BMI, 2015); parents level of education as none, 1- 6 years of elementary, 1 – 4 years of high school, college as attended or degree as AD, BS, MS, PhD, other; score using a standardized tool (such as T-test).


About BMI. (2015). Web.

Birbilis, M., Moschonis, G., Mougios, V., & Manios, Y. (2012). Obesity in adolescence is associated with perinatal risk factors, parental BMI and sociodemographic characteristics. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(1), 115-121.

Childhood Obesity Trends. (2016). Web.

Daniels, L. A., Mallan, K. M., Nicholson, J. M., Battistutta, D., & Magarey, A. (2013). Outcomes of an early feeding practices intervention to prevent childhood obesity. Pediatrics, 132(1), 11-19.

Muthuri, S., Onywera, V., Tremblay, M., Broyles, S., & Fogelholm, M. (2015). Relationships between parental education and overweight with childhood overweight and physical activity in 9–11 year old children: Results from a 12-country study. PLOS One, 11(8), 3-21.

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