Low-income Mothers' Media Cognitions and Practices as Child Obesity Risk Factors

Grant Details


? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Childhood obesity is a major public health concern that disproportionately affects low-income children, and is associated with obesity and associated comorbidities across the lifespan. Prevention efforts in childhood are essential to reduce obesity risk. Decades of research have supported the link between television use and obesity. Several interventions have attempted to reduce TV screen time in children, but have had limited success and lack evidence for sustained decreases in children's screen time. Most interventions attempt to change parents' media practices, yet none have examined parents' beliefs about media (media cognitions). Understanding beliefs is critical for sustained behavior change but little is known about parents' media cognitions. To our knowledge, no parent-focused screen time reduction intervention has explicitly targeted parents' media cognitions as a pathway to change the home media environment to prevent child obesity. The proposed study will address this gap in the research by using a combination of semi-structured interviews and observational data to assess media beliefs and behaviors in an existing sample of 301 low-income mothers of 4-10 year old children (5R01HD061356).The rich information acquired from semi-structured interviews with mothers and observed mother and child media behaviors during mealtime will guide the development of an obesity prevention intervention that incorporates what is learned from the current study. The specific aims are: Aim 1: To identify typologies of mothers' media cognitions (media cognition typologies). Aim 2: To examine the relationship between media cognition typologies and media parenting practices and child media engagement. Aim 3: To test the conceptual model that media cognition typologies will associate with concurrent child adiposity and excessive weight gain, through media parenting practices and child media engagement. Hypotheses are that: 1) Media cognition typologies will emerge from themes generated in semi-structured interviews with mothers; 2) Typologies will associate with media parenting practices and child media engagement; and 3) Mothers' media parenting practices and child media engagement will partially mediate the association between media cognition typologies and child adiposity and excessive weight gain. In addition to these research aims, Dr. Domoff will be trained in qualitative methods and observational coding from her sponsor and mentorship team. She will learn about cutting-edge obesity prevention approaches, implementation science, and the science of behavior change in order to design obesity prevention studies with low-income families. The research and training aims proposed here will facilitate Dr. Domoff's development as an independent scientist with a program of research dedicated to understanding parents' media cognitions and practices, child media engagement, and the role each may play in promoting childhood obesity.
Effective start/end date09/1/1508/21/16


  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: $56,215.00


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