Ethnicity, educational level and attitudes contribute to parental intentions about genetic testing for child obesity

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this paper is to assess parental beliefs and intentions about genetic testing for their children in a multi-ethnic population with the aim of acquiring information to guide interventions for obesity prevention and management. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in parents of native Dutch children and children from a large minority population (Turks) selected from Youth Health Care registries. The age range of the children was 5-11 years. Parents with lower levels of education and parents of non-native children were more convinced that overweight has a genetic cause and their intentions to test the genetic predisposition of their child to overweight were firmer. A firmer intention to test the child was associated with the parents' perceptions of their child's susceptibility to being overweight, a positive attitude towards genetic testing, and anticipated regret at not having the child tested while at risk for overweight. Interaction effects were found in ethnic and socio-economic groups. Ethnicity and educational level play a role in parental beliefs about child overweight and genetic testing. Education programmes about obesity risk, genetic testing and the importance of behaviour change should be tailored to the cultural and behavioural factors relevant to ethnic and socio-economic target groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Community Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This work was supported by the Centre for Medical Systems Biology (CMSB) as part of the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI). We thank the Regional Health Services Rotterdam-Rijnmond and Hart voor Brabant for allowing us to use the Youth Health Care register data from their districts.


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