Special Issue "Developing Children’s Health Behaviors within the Family Context"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Children's Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 April 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Stephanie Mazzucca
Website
Guest Editor
Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA
Interests: public health; nutrition; physical activity; dissemination and implementation research; early care and education settings
Dr. Courtney Luecking
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, College of Agricultre, Food and Environment, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA
Interests: nutrition; public health; dissemination and implementation research; community-based interventions; maternal and child health; family engagement
Dr. Cody Neshteruk
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Population Health Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA
Interests: physical activity; nutrition; parenting; obesity prevention; obesity treatment; children’s health
Prof. Dr. Dianne S. Ward
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
Interests: behavior science; nutrition; physical activity; children’s health; obesity
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Families play an integral role in children’s development, with great influence on aspects including healthy eating, physical activity, screen time, and sleep behaviors. Understanding the family context and strategies for the promotion of health behaviors have the potential to improve family health outcomes and have lasting impact. The complexities of working with families, including the heterogeneity of the family unit, role of external caregivers, and the social determinants of health, demand special attention. This Special Issue will highlight studies focusing on the development of children’s health behaviors within the family context.

In particular, we are interested in research conducted in the many settings that can support families with health promotion efforts, including primary health care, early care and education settings, schools, faith-based organizations, and social service organizations, among others. We are also interested in work focusing on underserved groups, including racial/ethnic minorities, immigrants, indigenous populations, those living in rural or remote areas, and/or low- and middle-income countries. We will consider a variety of research papers, including reviews, observational studies, and intervention or implementation trials.

We look forward to receiving your excellent submissions.

Dr. Stephanie Mazzucca
Dr. Courtney Luecking
Dr. Cody Neshteruk
Prof. Dr. Dianne S. Ward
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • nutrition
  • physical activity
  • screen time
  • sleep
  • family
  • children
  • social determinants of health
  • underserved populations

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Development and Validation of a Parental Health-Related Empowerment Scale with Low Income Parents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8645; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228645 - 20 Nov 2020
Abstract
Objectives: Consistent with empowerment theory, parental empowerment acts as a mechanism of change in family-based interventions to support child health. Yet, there are no comprehensive, validated measures of parental health-related empowerment to test this important perspective. Informed by empowerment theory and in the [...] Read more.
Objectives: Consistent with empowerment theory, parental empowerment acts as a mechanism of change in family-based interventions to support child health. Yet, there are no comprehensive, validated measures of parental health-related empowerment to test this important perspective. Informed by empowerment theory and in the context of a community-based obesity intervention, we developed a self-report measure of parental health-related empowerment and tested its preliminary validity with low-income parents. Methods: The Parental Empowerment through Awareness, Relationships, and Resources (PEARR) is a 21-item scale designed to measure three subdimensions of empowerment including resource empowerment, critical awareness, and relational empowerment. In the fall of 2017 or the fall of 2018, low-income parents (n = 770, 88% mothers) from 16 Head Start programs in Greater Boston completed the PEARR. The resulting data were randomly split into two equal samples with complete data. The factorial structure of the PEARR was tested in the first half of the sample using principal component analysis (PCA) and exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and subsequently confirmed with the second half of the sample using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Internal consistency coefficients were calculated for the final subscales. Results: Results from the PCA and EFA analyses identified three component factors (eigenvalues = 8.25, 2.75, 2.12) with all items loading significantly onto the hypothesized subdimension (β > 0.59 and p < 0.01). The three-factor model was subsequently confirmed with the second half of the sample using CFA (β > 0.54 and p < 0.01). Fit indices met minimum criteria (Comparative Fit Index = 0.95, Root Mean Square Error of Approximation = 0.05 (0.05, 0.06), Standardized Root-Mean-Square Residual = 0.05). Subscales demonstrated strong internal consistency (α= 0.83–0.90). Conclusions: Results support initial validity of a brief survey measuring parental empowerment for child health among Head Start parents. The PEARR can be utilized to measure changes in parental empowerment through interventions targeting empowerment as a mechanism of change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developing Children’s Health Behaviors within the Family Context)
Open AccessArticle
Testing the Effects of COVID-19 Confinement in Spanish Children: The Role of Parents’ Distress, Emotional Problems and Specific Parenting
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 6975; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17196975 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The present study aimed to examine the effects of the Spanish confinement derived from the COVID-19 crisis on children and their families, accounting for child’s age. A range of child negative (e.g., conduct problems) and positive outcomes (e.g., routine maintenance) were examined, along [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to examine the effects of the Spanish confinement derived from the COVID-19 crisis on children and their families, accounting for child’s age. A range of child negative (e.g., conduct problems) and positive outcomes (e.g., routine maintenance) were examined, along with a set of parent-related variables, including resilience, perceived distress, emotional problems, parenting distress and specific parenting practices (e.g., structured or avoidant parenting), which were modeled through path analysis to better understand child adjustment. Data were collected in April 2020, with information for the present study provided by 940 (89.6%) mothers, 102 (9.7%) fathers and 7 (0.7%) different caregivers, who informed on 1049 Spanish children (50.4% girls) aged 3 to 12 years (Mage = 7.29; SD = 2.39). The results suggested that, according to parents’ information, most children did not show important changes in behavior, although some increasing rates were observed for both negative and positive outcomes. Child adjustment was influenced by a chain of effects, derived from parents’ perceived distress and emotional response to the COVID-19 crisis, via parenting distress and specific parenting practices. While parenting distress in particular triggered child negative outcomes, specific parenting practices were more closely related to child positive outcomes. These findings may help to better inform, for potential future outbreaks, effective guidelines and prevention programs aimed at promoting the child’s well-being in the family. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developing Children’s Health Behaviors within the Family Context)
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Open AccessArticle
The Association between Parental Involvement Behavior and Self-Esteem among Adolescents Living in Poverty: Results from the K-CHILD Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6277; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176277 - 28 Aug 2020
Abstract
It is not yet known why some adolescents living in poverty show high self-esteem, while others do not. Parental involvement may be an important determinant to promote self-esteem among adolescents living in poverty. The aim of this study is to explore better parenting [...] Read more.
It is not yet known why some adolescents living in poverty show high self-esteem, while others do not. Parental involvement may be an important determinant to promote self-esteem among adolescents living in poverty. The aim of this study is to explore better parenting involvement behavior to promote self-esteem among adolescents living in poverty. Participants included fifth-, eighth-, and 11th-grade students living in Koichi prefecture, Japan. The participants were part of the Kochi Child Health Impact of Living Difficulty (K-CHILD) study, in 2016 (n = 10,784). Participants completed a questionnaire with questions about socioeconomic status and 14 parental involvement behaviors, including 9 specific kinds of parental interactions with their child (e.g., talking about school life), and 5 elements related to parental care for their child’s physical health (e.g., access to health care). The numbers of parental involvement behaviors, parental interactions with their child, and parental care for their child’s physical health were treated as continuous and quartile, to see the association. Overall, the study showed that the larger the number of parental involvement behaviors, the higher the self-esteem score of their off-spring (p < 0.01) among both adolescents living in poverty and not living in poverty, in which interaction between poverty and parental involvement behaviors was not significant. Both parental interaction with their child and parental care for their child’s physical health were associated with higher self-esteem, in which parental interaction with their child had a larger effect than parental care for their child’s physical health. To empower adolescents in poverty, caregivers need to provide both parental interaction with the child and parental care for the child’s physical health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developing Children’s Health Behaviors within the Family Context)
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Open AccessArticle
Parental Perspectives and Experiences in Relation to Lifestyle-Related Practices in the First Two Years of a Child’s Life: A Qualitative Study in a Disadvantaged Neighborhood in The Netherlands
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5838; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165838 - 12 Aug 2020
Abstract
The first two years of a child’s life are a critical period in preventing several lifestyle-related health problems. A qualitative study was conducted to explore parental experiences and perspectives in relation to lifestyle-related child-rearing practices in order to minimize risk factors at an [...] Read more.
The first two years of a child’s life are a critical period in preventing several lifestyle-related health problems. A qualitative study was conducted to explore parental experiences and perspectives in relation to lifestyle-related child-rearing practices in order to minimize risk factors at an early stage. Data were collected through interviews (n = 25) and focus groups (n = 4) with parents of children aged 0–2 years, in a disadvantaged neighborhood in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Results showed that parents were often uncertain about a number of lifestyle-related practices. Ambiguity also appeared regarding the parents’ intentions to engage in certain practices and what they were able to achieve in everyday life. In addition, parents experienced strong sociocultural influences from their family, which interfered with their ability to make their own decisions on lifestyle-related practices. Parents also expressed a need for peer-support and confirmation of their practices. Future studies should focus on supporting parents in their parental practices during the first two years of their child’s life. Any such study should take into account the specific sociocultural context accompanying lifestyle-related parental practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developing Children’s Health Behaviors within the Family Context)
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