Associations between the Family Nutrition and Physical Activity screening tool and the Youth Activity Profile
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Childhood obesity affects one third of children and adolescents and is expected to increase in coming years. Obesity has been linked to both genetic and environmental factors with more recent research focusing on the role parents play in childhood obesity. The Family Nutrition and Physical Activity (FNPA) Screening tool was developed to provide practical ways to evaluate home obesogenic environments. However, no study to date has examined associations between FNPA scores and child behaviors. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine associations between FNPA scores from parents and child reported lifestyle behaviors as assessed by an established self-report tool called the Youth Activity Profile (YAP). There were 464 4th and 5th graders who successfully complete the YAP. Out of the 464 students, 64 parents successfully completely the FNPA with a corresponding student ID number. Correlations were computed to assess associations between parental practices and child's behaviors related to three distinct categories: physical activity (PA), sedentary activity (SA), and nutrition (NUTR). High scores for PA and NUTR parenting practices and low scores for the SA practices indicate healthier parenting practices. High scores for all categories of the YAP indicate healthier behaviors. Within the FNPA survey there was a moderate correlation between positive NUTR practices and positive SA practices (r = 0.51). Within the YAP survey there were negative correlations between PA behaviors and SA behaviors (r = -0.30) and between NUTR behaviors and SA behaviors (r = -0.34, and positive correlations between PA behaviors and NUTR behaviors (r = 0.35). . Between surveys there was a positive correlation between FNPA PA and YAP PA (r = 0.27) and positive correlations between FNPA NUTR and YAP NUTR (r = 0.23). There was a negative correlation between higher FNPA SA scores and negative YAP SA behaviors (r = -0.42). In conclusion, there is a small to moderate association between the home environment and child's behaviors. Parents who promote physical activity, monitor screen time, and provide access to nutritious foods have children who report being more physically active, have less screen time, and have healthier eating patterns. These results indicate that the FNPA screening tool may be a useful to for school obesity prevent programs or a simple and quick way for parents to evaluate their own parenting practices.