Document Type


Publication Date


MeSH Terms

Pediatric Obesity--prevention and control

Subject: LCSH

Obesity in children, Children--health risk assessment


Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition


Background: More than a third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese in the US. Our study aimed to find natural patterns of response to items on attitudes and beliefs about news media exposure, parental weight history, attitudes and beliefs about childhood obesity to uncover dimensions that best describe risk appraisal in parents of children under 13. We theorized that disease awareness advertising for health-related products and media reports on the child obesity epidemic may impact parent beliefs about childhood obesity and family lifestyle behaviors. The intent of this study was to provide a foundation for more effective communication regarding risk appraisal related to childhood obesity by health providers.

Methods: A pilot cross-sectional online survey of 250 parents with children ages 1-13 was completed in September 2005 through a market survey firm by consumer panel “opt-in” with a response rate of 23%.

Results: A discriminant analysis identified four risk segments or with different attitudes about the media coverage, disease awareness advertising, family and parent efficacy, technological efficacy, healthcare justice (procedural and interpersonal), and obesity risk appraisal. Our data suggests that healthcare justice has more impact on child obesity risk appraisal than media reports. Family efficacy was related to receiving healthcare justice from their health providers. Fathers had lower risk appraisal than mothers and received less healthcare justice from their child’s provider. This study fills a gap in the literature on the impact of risk perception by the family decision maker and its effect on childhood obesity.


Copyright: ©2016 Grace-Farfaglia P. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publisher Citation

Grace-Farfaglia, P., & Peters, L.S. (2016) Parental attitudes toward childhood obesity: Risky business. Integrative Food, Nutrition & Metabolism. doi: 10.15761/IFNM.1000146