Lifestyles and Styles of Parental Care Related to Childhood Obesity. Compare Spain with Northern European Countries: ENERGY-Project

E. Miqueleiz, S.J. te Velde, E. Regidor, W. Van Lippevelde, F.N. Vik, J.M. Fernández Alvira, G. Vicente-Rodriguez, A. Kunst

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Background: The prevalence of childhood obesity is higher in Spain than in Northern European countries for reasons that are still unknown. The objective was to determine whether variables related to lifestyle habits and styles of parental care related to obesity in children differ between the countries of Northern Europe and Spain. Methods: Data were obtained from the ENERGY international project using questionnaires. We analyzed data from Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway including 1937 boys and 2061 girls aged 10-12 years old. We have studied the behavior of parents related to dietary variables, variables related to physical activity and ways of care. We calculated the mean and the proportions of all the variables and then calculated the association between different variables with the country of origin using the beta coefficient and the odds ratio (OR) as a measure of association. Results: Compared with parents in Northern Europe, Spanish parents consume significantly less days a week sugary drinks (Mean: 1.37 vs 2.16) but they consume more fruit juices (Mean: 2,61 vs 2,35). Spanish parents are more active going to their work, they are less sedentary but perform physical activity in their leisure time fewer days per week (Mean days per week they do physical activity in their leisure time: 1.88 vs 2.21). In addition, they are less negotiators with their children (Mean (0-4): 1.26 vs 1.68) and prevent less negative role models (Mean (0-4): 0.90 vs 1.29). However, they pay more attention (Mean (0-4): 3.42 vs 3.04) and encourage more healthy habits (Mean (0-4): 2.38 vs 2.06). Conclusions: The variables related to lifestyle habits and styles of care related to childhood obesity differ between Spanish parents and those of the countries of Northern Europe but these differences are not statistically significant. Therefore, differences in lifestyles and parenting practices might not explain the significant differences in childhood obesity between the Northern countries and Spain
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-532
JournalRevista Española de Salud Pública
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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