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Parental Adherence Intentions for Obese Children's Health Behaviors: Extending the Theory of Planned Behavior Open Access

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The current study examined how parental underestimations of child's weight status, parental worry, and the Theory of Planned Behavior variables (attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control) predict intentions to adhere to the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) recommendations of four childhood health behaviors. These behaviors include: 1) eating five fruits and/or vegetables per day; 2) spending two hours or less on screen time (television, computer, and video games) per day; 3) engaging in at least one hour of physical activity per day; and 4) limiting (having zero) sugar-sweetened beverages. Parents (N = 78) of overweight and obese children, ages six to 13 years old, were recruited from pediatric medical clinics and participated in an online study, where they were exposed to these AAP behavioral recommendations for children and completed online measures. Attitudes predicted of behavioral intentions for all recommendations except fruit and vegetable consumption. Subjective norms marginally predicted behavioral intentions for physical activity and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. Perceived behavioral control predicted behavioral intentions for the four recommendations. Parental worry predicted behavioral intentions for fruit and vegetable consumption. Additional theoretical and practical implications of this research are also discussed.

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