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Perceptions of Health Status and Play Activities in Parents of Overweight Hispanic Toddlers and Preschoolers

Rich, Shannon S. PhD; DiMarco, Nancy M. PhD; Huettig, Carol PhD; Essery, Eve V. PhD; Andersson, Evelyn PhD; Sanborn, Charlotte F. PhD


Childhood overweight among lower socioeconomic, Hispanic children has increased. Interviews regarding health status and play patterns were conducted with 76 predominantly Hispanic mothers of overweight toddlers and preschoolers served by Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Most participants believed their child was healthy and half were unconcerned about their child's weight. Most parents reported having a safe place to play and access to a playground, although gender differences were found. Access to an outside play area was related to amount of active play activities. Children watched an average of 1.7 hours per day of television. Health professionals must partner with parents to address childhood obesity.

Departments of Psychology and Philosophy (Dr Rich), Nutrition and Food Sciences (Drs DiMarco and Essery), Kinesiology (Drs Huettig and Sanborn), Texas Woman's University, Denton, Tex; and the School of Occupational Therapy, Denton, Tex (Dr Andersson).

Corresponding author: Shannon S. Rich, PhD, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX 76204 (e-mail:

We acknowledge Marie Zachzowski, Executive Director of WIC of Dallas, and Cindy Wachtler, registered dietitian of WIC of Dallas, for their contributions to the project. We thank the following student researchers: Simon Chan, Brandi Gitcho, Molly Hunley, April Popejoy, and Nikki Toler. This research was conducted in the preliminary phases of a 3-year National Institutes of Health Innovative Approaches to Childhood Obesity Grant, “Effect of Active Play on Obese At-Risk Toddlers,” grant NIH KD47486.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.