The study aimed to examine the level of parental responsiveness and demandingness for junior high students in China and its association with child weight status; assess if it differs by student socio-demographic characteristics; and to test the association between parenting and child physical activity. Nationally representative survey data collected from 19,487 students in 112 middle schools across China in 2013–2014 academic year were analyzed in 2016. Children's anthropometrics and perceptions of parenting practices were accessed by self-administered questionnaire. Multilevel logistic regression models were fit to test the association controlling for child age, sex, school region, and parental education. The majority of adolescents reported their parents were highly responsive in terms of emotional support and involvement (high: 64.1% vs. low: 9.2%), although more parents were not perceived as highly demanding (high: 21.4% vs. low: 35.5%). Children were more likely to be overweight or obese if their parents were highly responsive (OR = 1.4 [95%CI: 1.2,1.6]) and demanding (OR = 1.1 [95%CI: 1.0,1.3]) compared to those with medium parenting scores. Older children, boys, children with highly educated parents, or in urban schools had greater odds of being overweight or obese by receiving highly responsive parenting compared to their counterparts. Children with highly demanding or responsive parenting had longer physical activity duration and higher physical activity participation rates than their counterparts. High responsiveness and demandingness among Chinese parents were associated with the risk of child overweight and obesity. Further research is needed to examine the causal relationship between parenting practices and childhood obesity in China.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health