What do parents say about childhood obesity?
Jones, Emily Marie
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The purpose of this study was to develop a survey instrument to measure parental perspectives of a) childhood obesity locus of control and b) solutions to childhood obesity. Such a measure could facilitate the design and development of childhood obesity related programs based upon the perspectives and values of parents, vital stakeholders in the lives and health of children. This study utilized a reiterative instrument development model proposed by Benson and Clark (1982) that involved a series of five pilot tests that provided initial qualitative and quantitative evidence of the reliability and validity of the instrument. A sample of 622 adults (75% 31-50 years; 90% parents) in the state of Georgia, United States, completed working versions of the newly developed instrument to assist in the establishment of content relevance, item clarity, and initial estimates of instrument reliability. The final questionnaire included 17 potential childhood obesity locus of control items that were placed on a five-point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree. The instrument also included 40 possible childhood obesity prevention strategies dually categorized by CDC Healthy People 2010 focus areas (CDC, 2000) and Social Ecological Model (Brofenbrenner, 1979) social levels. Respondents rank ordered groupings of the potential solutions in preference of support. Demographic information about the respondents’ age, sex, marital status, educational attainment, and parental status was collected. Instrument completion time was estimated to be 10 minutes. Exploratory factor analysis of these data revealed four childhood obesity locus of control factors (Internality, Chance-Externality, Powerful Others Outside the Home, and Powerful Others Inside the Home). These factors accounted for 46% of the total variance explained and held moderately strong alpha coefficients (range, .654 - .718). Descriptive statistics (M, SD, and mode) facilitated the analysis of rank order data of the solutions to obesity. Initial findings highlight participant propensity to support content specific prevention strategies implemented within stratified social levels. The result of this study is a newly developed instrument that measures perceptions of childhood obesity locus of control and solutions to childhood obesity.