Effects of Specific Home Environment Factors on a Child's Weight

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Millage, Molly
South Dakota State University
children; environment; home; iGrow readers; kitchen; weight; Human and Clinical Nutrition; Nutrition
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Background: In 2011-2014 8.9% of children 2-5 years old were classified as obese. Obesity in children predisposes them to negative health and psychological consequences. One of the most significant factors that influences a child is the physical environment the child is exposed to, which includes the home environment.Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine how the home environment ie. cooking equipment, food preparation/availability, and frequency of family meals eaten at home, contribute to childhood obesity in children 3-5 years old.Design: This study was a cross-sectional analysis of the iGrow Readers study.Participants/setting: Total of 229 parent/child dyads but sample size varied for individual analyses depending on available data.Intervention: The Comprehensive Home Environment Survey (CHES) was assessed at follow-up by the parent and specific categories and questions were taken from the CHES and analyzed.Statistical analyses performed: T-test and chi-squared analyses were performed using Stata Version 14.Results: Lack of counter and cupboard space along with decreased frequency of family meals increased the probability of having a child that was overweight or obese. Fruit and vegetable availability decreased the probability of having a child that was overweight or obese.Conclusion: Many home environment factors, especially the kitchen environment and family meals, may be contributing to a child’s weight status.