The home food environment is known to influence weight status across the lifespan. Access to high fat foods in the home is linked to increased energy intake in both children and adults (Fulkerson et al., 2008). Research suggests that concern for future health and motivation to change are related to weight status and eating behaviors in adults (Dassen et. al, 2015; Allen et al., 2014). These two parental factors could potentially affect the home food environment, especially if their child has overweight or obesity (OW/OB).
The present study is a secondary data analysis of baseline data from 131 treatment parents (mean age=43.2, 93.4% with OW/OB%, 88.4% female, 22.3% Hispanic) and their child with OW/OB (age=9.8; zBMI=1.99; 63% female; 27% Hispanic). Parents reported on the home food environment using the 26-item Home Food Inventory (HFI), which sums the presence of high- (14 items) and low-fat foods (12 items) in the home. Parents’ thoughts about future health were measured using the Consideration of Future Consequences Scales (CFCS) and motivation was assessed using the 25-item Parent Motivation Inventory (PMI). A negative binomial regression was used to evaluate the relationship between parents’ consideration of future consequences and the number of high- and low- fat foods in the home. Due to collinearity, a separate negative binomial regression evaluated the relationship between parent motivation and the number of high- and low- fat food items in the home. Both regressions controlled for parent age, gender, ethnicity, and income.
Analysis revealed that both CFCS and PMI were negatively associated with high fat foods in the home (CFCS B=-0.021, p=0.001; PMI B=-0.012, p=0.030). No significant relationships were found with low fat food in the home.
These results suggest that increasing parent motivation and consideration of the future health effects of obesity may produce more health-protective home environments among children with OW/OB.