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Open AccessArticle

Parent Stress as a Consideration in Childhood Obesity Prevention: Results from the Guelph Family Health Study, a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

by Valerie Hruska 1, Gerarda Darlington 2, Jess Haines 3 and David W. L. Ma 1,* on behalf of the Guelph Family Health Study
1
Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada
2
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada
3
Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(6), 1835; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061835
Received: 7 May 2020 / Revised: 10 June 2020 / Accepted: 17 June 2020 / Published: 19 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Child Obesity and Nutrition Promotion Intervention)
Parents’ stress is independently associated with increased child adiposity, but parents’ stress may also interfere with childhood obesity prevention programs. The disruptions to the family dynamic caused by participating in a behaviour change intervention may exacerbate parent stress and undermine overall intervention efficacy. This study explored how family stress levels were impacted by participation in a home-based obesity prevention intervention. Data were collected from 77 families (56 fathers, 77 mothers) participating in the Guelph Family Health Study (GFHS), a pilot randomized control trial of a home-based obesity prevention intervention. Four measures of stress were investigated: general life stress, parenting distress, depressive symptoms, and household chaos. Multiple linear regression was used to compare the level of stress between the intervention and control groups at post-intervention and 1-year follow-up, adjusted for baseline stress. Analyses for mothers and fathers were stratified, except for household chaos which was measured at the family level. Results indicate no significant differences between intervention and control groups for any stress measure at any time point, indicating a neutral effect of the GFHS intervention on family stress. Future work should investigate the components of family-based intervention protocols that make participation minimally burdensome and consider embedding specific stress-reduction messaging to promote family health and wellbeing. View Full-Text
Keywords: stress; mental health; family; health behavior; childhood obesity; health intervention stress; mental health; family; health behavior; childhood obesity; health intervention
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Hruska, V.; Darlington, G.; Haines, J.; Ma, D.W.L., on behalf of the Guelph Family Health Study; Parent Stress as a Consideration in Childhood Obesity Prevention: Results from the Guelph Family Health Study, a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1835.

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