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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Environmental and cultural correlates of physical activity parenting practices among Latino parents with preschool-aged children: Ninos Activos

Authors
item O'Connor, Teresia -
item Cerin, Ester -
item Lee, Rebecca -
item Parker, Nathan -
item Chen, Tzu -
item Hughes, Sheryl -
item Mendoza, Jason -
item Baranowski, Tom -

Submitted to: BioMed Central(BMC) Public Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 3, 2014
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
Citation: O'Connor, T.M., Cerin, E., Lee, R.E., Parker, N., Chen, T.A., Hughes, S.O., Mendoza, J.A., Baranowski, T. 2014. Environmental and cultural correlates of physical activity parenting practices among Latino parents with preschool-aged children: Ninos Activos. BioMed Central(BMC) Public Health. 14:707.

Interpretive Summary: Latino children have a relatively high risk of becoming overweight or obese. Physical activity (PA) has been directly linked to children's risk of obesity and parents are known to influence how active their child is through parenting practices. However, it is not known what drives parents of Latino children to either encourage or discourage physical activity among their preschool aged child. This paper reports the association of multiple variables with parental reported use of parenting practices that encourages or discourages physical activity for their 3-5 year old children. Specifically sociodemographic, cultural (acculturation and familism), objectively measured neighborhood environmental factors (crime risk, traffic risk , and distance to nearest park), and parental perception of their neighborhood (signs of physical and social disorder, traffic safety, traffic hazard, stranger danger, availability of active play equipment, places for child's physical activity and neighborhood social informal control) were assessed among 240 Latino parents of a 3-5 year old child. Regression models were built to understand the contribution of each group of correlates and each individual variable in explaining the variance of physical activity parenting practices. Significant correlations included sociodemographic variables with having outdoor toys available, psychological control, and promotion of inactivity. Cultural factors correlated with PA safety concern practices. Perceived environmental attributes correlated with several parenting practices, while objectively-measured environmental attributes did not significantly correlate with PA parenting practices. This study illustrates the important association of parental perceptions of the neighborhood environment with physical activity parenting practices. To be successful, future interventions promoting PA among Latino preschoolers will need to address the social-ecological context in which families live to effectively promote PA parenting.

Technical Abstract: Latino children are at high risk of becoming obese. Physical activity (PA) can help prevent obesity. Parents can influence children's PA through parenting practices. This study aimed to examine the independent contributions of (1) sociodemographic, (2) cultural, (3) parent perceived environmental, and (4) objectively measured environmental factors, to PA parenting practices. A cross-sectional sample of Latino parents (n = 240) from Harris County, TX in 2011-2012 completed validated questionnaires to assess PA parenting practices, acculturation, familism, perception of their neighborhood environment, and demographics. Home addresses were mapped and linked to Census block-level crime and traffic data. Distance to the closest park was mapped by GIS. Regression models were built in a hierarchical step-wise fashion. Combined models showed R2 of 6.8% to 38.9% for different parenting practices. Significant correlations included sociodemographic variables with having outdoor toys available, psychological control, and promotion of inactivity. Cultural factors correlated with PA safety concern practices. Perceived environmental attributes correlated with five of seven parenting practices, while objectively-measured environmental attributes did not significantly correlate with PA parenting practices. Interventions promoting PA among Latino preschoolers may need to address the social-ecological context in which families live to effectively promote PA parenting, especially parents' perceptions of neighborhoods.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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