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J Paediatr Child Health. 2014 Jun;50(6):476-81. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12500. Epub 2014 Feb 25.

Parental readiness to implement life-style behaviour changes in relation to children's excess weight.

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Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece.



The aim if this study is to evaluate parental readiness to implement changes in specific life-style behaviours for preventing or reducing obesity in children.


Eighty-seven parents of overweight or obese children participated in this cross-sectional study. Parents completed a questionnaire for the assessment of their perceptions about their children's weight and their readiness to take action in general, as well as in relation to ten obesogenic life-style behaviours. The transtheoretical model with the five stages of change (precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance) was used for this assessment. A total readiness score was calculated for the 10 behaviours.


A total of 4.6% of parents were in the precontemplation-contemplation stage for overall weight management. However, this percentage was greater for particular behaviours, such as allowing children to self-regulate their food intake, having family meals, reducing screen time and increasing physical activity. Child's body mass index, paternal education level and parental perception about child's excessive weight being attributed to over-consumption of sweets and salty snacks were significantly associated with total readiness score.


The results of the present study indicate that the high readiness for general action reported by parents of overweight/obese children does not necessarily imply their readiness to engage in changes in specific life-style behaviours.


diet; family; life-style; physical activity; readiness

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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