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Understanding and changing overweight-related behaviours in children : focus on social inequalities

Valerie De Coen (UGent)
(2014)
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Abstract
Young children do not meet the guidelines for healthy nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviour. An important risk of this behaviour is the development of childhood overweight. Childhood overweight causes physical and mental health problems both on short and long term. The development of overweight is associated with the dietary, physical activity and sedentary behaviour of the child, but also with the genetical and socio-demographic environment of both the child and its family. Moreover these interactions take place within a community in which friends, media, schools and policies have an influence on these interactions. The socioeconomic status of both the child (indicated by the maternal educational level) and the community showed to play an important role within these interactions. Many past interventions attempted to find the right strategy for the prevention of childhood overweight. However, results are inconsistent and to this date, it remains unclear which type of intervention is most suitable. Furthermore, literature showed that certain socioeconomic groups or communities may show differential intervention effects. The first aim of this doctoral thesis is to identify the determinants of childhood overweight and their association with socioeconomic status. The second aim is to study the mid-term and long-term effects of a multi-component intervention on the prevention of childhood overweight focusing on healthy diet, physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Cross-sectional, longitudinal and intervention research is used to gain more insight in the determinants of childhood overweight, their association with socioeconomic status and the effects of a multi-component intervention on different levels. The first chapter consists of cross-sectional and longitudinal research identifying determinants of childhood overweight. The effect of the individual socioeconomic status, indicated by the maternal educational level, on soft drink consumption and the mediation of soft drink parenting practices were investigated in the first article. The second article focused on finding determinants of the development of childhood overweight. This study showed that having a low educated mother, being an only child, maternal or paternal overweight, having more than one hour of screen time on a week day and a high soft drink consumption were positively associated with the development of childhood overweight. The second chapter of the thesis consists of intervention research. In the first article, the effects of the intervention after 18 months were described and an intervention effect on BMI was found in the low socioeconomic community. The second article describes the overall effects after the 30-months intervention: several behavioural intervention effects were found and screen time showed a differential effect depending on the educational level of the mother. This research showed that the socioeconomic status plays an important role in childhood overweight and overweight-related behaviour. The socioeconomic status of the child indicated by the educational level of the mother has an explanatory value for the development of childhood overweight and both the child and community socioeconomic status had an influence on the effects of the intervention. The intervention on the prevention of childhood overweight, developed and implemented within this research did not lead to major results in both low and high socioeconomic groups on the short and medium term. New pathways and methods having an impact on the dietary behaviour of children and parents, especially for the low socioeconomic group are needed. Interventions focused on environmental changes including the food industry or the advertisement of fast food may be worth researching.
Keywords
Childhood overweight, BMI, socioeconomic status, overweight-related behaviours

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
De Coen, Valerie. 2014. “Understanding and Changing Overweight-related Behaviours in Children : Focus on Social Inequalities”. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
APA
De Coen, Valerie. (2014). Understanding and changing overweight-related behaviours in children : focus on social inequalities. Ghent University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent, Belgium.
Vancouver
1.
De Coen V. Understanding and changing overweight-related behaviours in children : focus on social inequalities. [Ghent, Belgium]: Ghent University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences; 2014.
MLA
De Coen, Valerie. “Understanding and Changing Overweight-related Behaviours in Children : Focus on Social Inequalities.” 2014 : n. pag. Print.
@phdthesis{4388082,
  abstract     = {Young children do not meet the guidelines for healthy nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviour. An important risk of this behaviour is the development of childhood overweight. Childhood overweight causes physical and mental health problems both on short and long term. The development of overweight is associated with the dietary, physical activity and sedentary behaviour of the child, but also with the genetical and socio-demographic environment of both the child and its family. Moreover these interactions take place within a community in which friends, media, schools and policies have an influence on these interactions. The socioeconomic status of both the child (indicated by the maternal educational level) and the community showed to play an important role within these interactions. Many past interventions attempted to find the right strategy for the prevention of childhood overweight. However, results are inconsistent and to this date, it remains unclear which type of intervention is most suitable. Furthermore, literature showed that certain socioeconomic groups or communities may show differential intervention effects. 
The first aim of this doctoral thesis is to identify the determinants of childhood overweight and their association with socioeconomic status. The second aim is to study the mid-term and long-term effects of a multi-component intervention on the prevention of childhood overweight focusing on healthy diet, physical activity and sedentary behaviour. 
Cross-sectional, longitudinal and intervention research is used to gain more insight in the determinants of  childhood overweight, their association with socioeconomic status and the effects of a multi-component intervention on different levels. 
The first chapter consists of cross-sectional and longitudinal research identifying determinants of childhood overweight. The effect of the individual socioeconomic status, indicated by the maternal educational level, on soft drink consumption and the mediation of soft drink parenting practices were investigated in the first article. The second article focused on finding determinants of the development of childhood overweight. This study showed that having a low educated mother, being an only child, maternal or paternal overweight, having more than one hour of screen time on a week day and a high soft drink consumption were positively associated with the development of childhood overweight.
The second chapter of the thesis consists of intervention research. In the first article, the effects of the intervention after 18 months were described and an intervention effect on BMI was found in the low socioeconomic community. The second article describes the overall effects after the 30-months intervention: several behavioural intervention effects were found and screen time showed a differential effect depending on the educational level of the mother. 
This research showed that the socioeconomic status plays an important role in childhood overweight and overweight-related behaviour. The socioeconomic status of the child indicated by the educational level of the mother has an explanatory value for the development of childhood overweight and both the child and community socioeconomic status had an influence on the effects of the intervention. 
The intervention on the prevention of childhood overweight, developed and implemented within this research did not lead to major results in both low and high socioeconomic groups on the short and medium term. New pathways and methods having an impact on the dietary behaviour of children and parents, especially for the low socioeconomic group are needed. Interventions focused on environmental changes including the food industry or the advertisement of fast food may be worth researching.},
  author       = {De Coen, Valerie},
  isbn         = {9789078344346},
  keywords     = {Childhood overweight,BMI,socioeconomic status,overweight-related behaviours},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {176},
  publisher    = {Ghent University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences},
  school       = {Ghent University},
  title        = {Understanding and changing overweight-related behaviours in children : focus on social inequalities},
  year         = {2014},
}