Azar KMJ, Halley M, Lv N, Wulfovich S, Gillespie K, Liang L, Goldman Rosas L., BMC Pediatr. 20(1):137. doi: 10.1186/s12887-020-02038-4., 2020 Mar 27
BACKGROUND: Today, approximately one in five United States adolescents age 12 to 19 years is obese and just over a third are either overweight or obese. This study examines how parents and peers influence diet and physical activity behaviors of older adolescents (14-18 years) with overweight or obesity to inform weight management interventions.
METHODS: Adolescent participants included 14 to 18-year-olds with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than the 85th percentile for their age and sex who were receiving care in a large healthcare system in Northern California. Adolescents and their parents participated in separate focus groups and interviews (if not able to attend focus groups) that were held at the same time in the same location. We used qualitative thematic analysis to identify common themes discussed in the adolescent and parent focus groups as well as paired analysis of adolescent-parent dyads.
RESULTS: Participants included 26 adolescents and 27 parents. Adolescent participants were 14 to 18 years old. Half were female and the participants were almost evenly distributed across year in school. The majority self-identified as White (56%) and Asian (36%).Three themes were identified which included 1) parents overestimated how supportive they were compared to adolescents' perception 2) parents and adolescents had different views regarding parental influence on adolescent diet and physical activity behaviors 3) parents and adolescents held similar views on peers' influential role on lifestyle behaviors.
CONCLUSION: Parents' and adolescents' differing views suggest that alignment of parent and adolescent expectations and behaviors for supporting effective weight management could be incorporated into interventions.