Parent-report and child perception of familial support for weight-related behaviors may not be congruent. This research explores whether parent-report or child perception is more strongly associated with child-reported physical activity and television (TV) use.
Elementary school children (n = 73) participating in Ready. Set. ACTION!, a theater-based obesity prevention pilot program in Saint Paul, MN, and their parents completed surveys assessing familial support for physical activity and limitations on TV use in fall 2006. Paired t tests examined congruency between parent-report and child perception. Linear regression models adjusted for sociodemographics explored the associations between familial support and child-reported behavior.
Levels of agreement between parent-report and child perception for support for physical activity and limitations on TV use were approximately 70%. Compared with parent-report for physical activity support, child perception was more strongly associated with child physical activity (β = .17, P = .02). Neither parent-report nor child perception for support for limitations on TV use was associated with child TV use.
Although parent-report and child perception of familial support for physical activity and to limit TV use were similar, child perception was more strongly associated with child physical activity behavior. More research, probably qualitative, is needed to examine how parents and children define and perceive parental support.