Low parental support in late adolescence predicts obesity in young adulthood; Gender differences in a 12-year cohort of African Americans.
Sommaire de l'article
Most studies that have investigated the link between parenting behaviors and risk of obesity among offsprings have mostly used a cross-sectional design, enrolled Caucasian samples, focused on childhood obesity, and covered aspects of parenting behaviors that directly influence energy balance and food intake of the children. Thus, more longitudinal research is needed on how more general aspects of parenting influence obesity in young ethnic minority adults. The current longitudinal study aimed to test if baseline parental support predicts change in body mass index (BMI) of African Americans, and if this prediction varies based on gender of offspring.
The current study followed 227 young African American adults (109 male and 118 female) for 12 years from year 2000 (mean age 20) to year 2012 (mean age 32). All participants were enrolled from a disadvantaged urban area in the Midwest of the United States. Baseline demographics (age, gender), socio-economics (family structure, and parental employment), psychological symptoms (anxiety and depression), general parental support (maternal support, and paternal support) were measured. BMI was measured at baseline and at follow up. We used gender-specific linear regressions to test the predictive role of baseline paternal and maternal support (year 2000) on change in BMI (from 2000 to 2012).
Regression analysis showed that among female African American young adults, high baseline maternal support was predictive of a lower increase in BMI from 2000 to 2012. The association remained significant while all covariates were in the model. We could not find such an association for male African American young adults.
High maternal support appears to be protective against increases in BMI among African American female young adults. As parental support is a modifiable factor within available evidence-based interventions that enhance parenting, it should be included in obesity prevention programs for African American women. Policies and programs should support African American mothers in disadvantaged neighborhoods to enable them to provide high levels of parental support for their young adult daughters. Future research should test the efficacy of such programs and policies for reducing obesity among African American women.