The influence of the maternal peer group (partner, friends, mothers' group, family) on mothers' attitudes to obesity-related behaviours of their children

Journal article


Cameron, Adrian J., Charlton, Emma, Walsh, Adam, Hesketh, Kylie and Campbell, Karen. (2019). The influence of the maternal peer group (partner, friends, mothers' group, family) on mothers' attitudes to obesity-related behaviours of their children. BMC Pediatrics. 19(1), p. Article 357. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-019-1726-x
AuthorsCameron, Adrian J., Charlton, Emma, Walsh, Adam, Hesketh, Kylie and Campbell, Karen
Abstract

Background
Relationships with others can have an impact on the attitudes of new mums to the obesity-related behaviours of their children. The aim of this study was to understand the degree to which other new mums (from their mothers’ group), friends, partners, and other family members have an influence on maternal attitudes to child feeding, physical activity and television viewing behaviours in order to more accurately target obesity prevention interventions.

Methods
In a retrospective cohort study design using data from the InFANT randomized controlled trial, first-time mothers (n = 307) from Melbourne, Australia were asked in 2012–13 how much of an influence their partner, friends, mothers’ group and family were on their attitudes to their pre-school aged child’s feeding, physical activity and television viewing behaviours. The level of influence was examined using chi-square tests, t-tests, and analysis of variance, stratified by maternal education, age and body weight. We also examined associations between the influence of others on maternal attitudes and actual behaviours including breastfeeding duration, age at introduction of solid food and time their child spent outside.

Results
Mothers rated partners as having the strongest influence on their attitudes toward all obesity-related behaviours. The percentage reporting partners as a major influence were 28.7% (95% CI 23.8,34.0), 33.1% (28.0, 38.6) and 24.2% (19.6, 29.3) for child feeding, physical activity and television viewing, respectively. More highly educated mothers rated social connections as more influential than less educated mothers. The influence of partners on attitudes toward child feeding was associated with longer breastfeeding duration.

Conclusions
Mothers rated partners as a powerful influence on their attitudes toward the obesity-related behaviours of their pre-school children, suggesting that partners could be an important target of obesity-prevention initiatives. Since less educated mothers reported peers and family as a much weaker influence on their attitudes to obesity-related behaviours than more educated mothers, equity should be taken into consideration when contemplating obesity-prevention interventions that target mothers’ groups.

Keywordspeers; infant; feeding; physical activity; sedentary behaviour; early childhood
Year2019
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Journal citation19 (1), p. Article 357
PublisherBiomed Central Ltd
ISSN1471-2431
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-019-1726-x
PubMed ID31619191
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85073429501
PubMed Central IDPMC6794892
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-8
FunderNational Health and Medical Research Council
Australian Research Council
National Heart Foundation of Australia
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online16 Oct 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted16 Sep 2019
Deposited22 Aug 2022
ARC Funded ResearchThis output has been funded, wholly or partially, under the Australian Research Council Act 2001
Grant ID425801
DE160100141
1041020
FT130100637
100370
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