Parent and child self-reports of dietary behaviors, physical activity, and screen time

Jenifer E. Thorn, Nailya Delellis, Judy P. Chandler, Korey Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine differences between children and their parents' perceptions regarding dietary behaviors, physical activity (PA), and screen time. Study design: This study included 292 children in the 3rd and 4th grades (mean age 8.48 years) and their parents/guardians. Eighty-eight parent/guardian-child pairs completed a modified version of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Survey that specifically asked parents about their child's health behaviors. A similar version of the survey was also given to their children to answer questions regarding their personal health behaviors. A paired t test was performed to assess the difference in parent-child responses. An independent t test was performed to assess the sex and age difference in nutritional habits, amount of screen time, and PA among children. Results: Of 88 parent-child dyads, there was no single dyad that provided the same answers to all the questions. There are differences between children's and parent's perception of average food consumption, amount of screen time, and PA. Fourth graders reported higher number of PA days than did 3rd graders (4.65 vs 5.57, P < .05). Conclusions: The discrepancies found between parents and their children concerning food choices, juice and soft drinks, screen time, and PA are all troubling, particularly in a community where obesity risk is high. The findings indicate a continued need for information about parent and child perceptions of diet behaviors and PA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-561
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013


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