Ethnic differences and parental beliefs are important for overweight prevention and management in children: A cross-sectional study in the Netherlands

Paul L. Kocken*, Yvonne Schönbeck, Lidewij Henneman, A. Cecile J.W. Janssens, Symone B. Detmar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: The prevalence of obesity and overweight is highest among ethnic minority groups in Western countries. The objective of this study is to examine the contribution of ethnicity and beliefs of parents about overweight preventive behaviours to their childs outdoor play and snack intake, and to the parents intention to monitor these behaviours. Methods. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among parents of native Dutch children and children from a large minority population (Turks) at primary schools, sampled from Youth Health Care registers. Results: Native Dutch parents observed more outdoor play and lower snack intake in their child and had stronger intentions to monitor these behaviours than parents of Turkish descent. In the multivariate analyses, the parents attitude and social norm were the main contributing factors to the parental intention to monitor the childs outdoor play and snack intake. Parental perceived behavioural control contributed to the childs outdoor play and, in parents who perceived their child to be overweight, to snacking behaviour. The associations between parents behavioural cognitions and overweight related preventive behaviours were not modified by ethnicity, except for perceived social norm. The relationship between social norm and intention to monitor outdoor play was stronger in Dutch parents than in Turkish parents. Conclusions: As the overweight related preventive behaviours of both children and parents did differ between the native and ethnic minority populations of this study, it is advised that interventions pay attention to cultural aspects of the targeted population. Further research is recommended into parental behavioural cognitions regarding overweight prevention and management for different ethnicities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number867
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Community Health Organisations Rotterdam-Rijnmond and Hart voor Brabant for allowing us to use the Youth Health Care register data from their districts. We thank Paula van Dommelen for statistical advise. This work was supported by the Centre for Medical Systems Biology (CMSB) in the framework of the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI). No conflict of interest is declared.


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