Parental Monitoring of Children’s Media Consumption: The Long-term Influences on Body Mass Index in Children Public Deposited

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  • IMPORTANCE: Although children’s media consumption has been one of the most robust risk factors for childhood obesity, effects of specific parenting influences, such as parental media monitoring, have not been effectively investigated. OBJECTIVES: This study examined the potential influences of maternal and paternal monitoring of child media exposure and children’s general activities on children’s BMI in middle childhood. DESIGN: A longitudinal study, taken from a subsample of the Three Generational Study, with assessments at children’s ages of 5, 7, and/or 9 years collected from 1998-2012. SETTING: The Three Generational Study, a predominantly Caucasian, Pacific-Northwest U.S. community sample (overall participation rate 90%). PARTICIPANTS: Analyses included 112 mothers, 103 fathers and their 213 children (55% girls) at ages 5, 7, and/or 9 years. Participation rates ranged from 67% to 72% of all eligible Three Generational Study children across the three assessments. MAIN EXPOSURES: Parents reported on their general monitoring of their children (whereabouts and activities), specific monitoring of child media exposure, children’s participation in sports and recreational activities, children’s media time (hours/week), annual income, and education level. Parental BMI was recorded. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Predictions to level and change in child BMI z scores were tested. RESULTS: Linear mixed-effects modeling indicated that more maternal, but not paternal, monitoring of child media exposure predicted lower child BMI z scores at age 7 years (95% CI, -.39 – -.07) and less steeply increasing child BMI z scores from ages 5-9 years (95% CI, -.11 – -.01). These effects held when controlling for more general parental monitoring, and parent BMI, income and education. Results supported that the significant negative effect of maternal media monitoring on children’s BMI z scores at age 7 years was marginally accounted for by the effect of child media time. The maternal media monitoring effect on children’s BMI z score slopes remained significant once adjusting for children’s media time, and sports and recreational activity. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that parental behaviors related to children’s media consumption may have long-term impacts on children’s BMI in middle childhood. The results underscore the importance of targeting parental media monitoring in efforts to prevent childhood obesity.
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  • Tiberio, S. S., Kerr, D. C. R., Capaldi, D. M., Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., & Nowicka, P. (2014). Parental Monitoring of Children's Media Consumption: The Long-term Influences on Body Mass Index in Children. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(5), 414-421. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.5483
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