Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Human Development and Family Studies
Clinton G. Gudmunson
Parents model and teach early health practices that persist into adulthood by establishing a foundation through which children understand related family beliefs, values, and expectations. The environment in which parents socialize children's eating, physical activity, and screen-related behaviors has changed and has been widely faulted in the obesity epidemic. This phenomenological study examined the intentions, reflections, and strategies in which a purposefully selected group of mothers, scoring highly on the Family Nutrition and Physical Activity screening tool, shaped family culture related to physical activity, addressed screen-time behaviors, and established positive eating related routines.
Findings related to mothers' knowledge and belief systems about parenting within this domain pointed to the impact of family health history and mothers' own upbringing, reinforcing the powerful nature of early habit formation. Mothers prioritized this parenting domain and were intentional in their efforts, describing the power of modeling positive obesity-related behaviors and creating a culture that promoted activity over sedentariness. By focusing on establishing positive behaviors at home, and framing choices and opportunities in support of child autonomy, mothers believed they were preparing children to resist threats from the obesigenic environment. This study presents a strengths perspective and imparts a new narrative which serves to complement existing obesity research in representative and at-risk populations. Findings may inform obesity prevention and intervention programs as well as parenting education curricula.
Downey, Jacy, "Parenting practices related to positive eating, physical activity and sedentary behaviors in children: A qualitative exploration of strategies used by parents to navigate the obesigenic environment" (2014). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 13964.