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Rebholz, Cornelia E.; Chinapaw, Mai J. M.; Stralen, Maartje M. van; Bere, Elling; Bringolf, Bettina; Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse de; Jan, Nataša; Kovacs, Eva; Maes, Lea; Manios, Yannis; Moreno, Luis A.; Singh, Amika S.; Brug, Johannes and Te Velde, Saskia J. (2014): Agreement between parent and child report on parental practices regarding dietary, physical activity and sedentary behaviours: The ENERGY cross-sectional survey. In: BMC Public Health 14:918 [PDF, 470kB]


Background Parents and their parenting practices play an important role in shaping their children’s environment and energy-balance related behaviours (EBRBs). Measurement of parenting practices can be parent- or child-informed, however not much is known about agreement between parent and child perspectives. This study aimed to assess agreement between parent and child reports on parental practices regarding EBRBs across different countries in Europe and to identify correlates of agreement. Methods Within the ENERGY-project, a cross-sectional survey was conducted among 10–12 year old children and their parents in eight European countries. Both children and parents filled in a questionnaire on 14 parental practices regarding five different EBRBs (i.e. soft drink, fruit juice and breakfast consumption, sports activity and watching TV) and socio-demographic characteristics. Children’s anthropometric measurements were taken at school. We calculated percentages of agreement between children and their parents and weighted kappa statistics (for ordinal variables) per practice and country and assessed factors associated with agreement using multilevel linear regression. Results Reports of 6425 children and their parents were available for analysis. Overall mean agreement between parent and child reports was 43% and varied little among countries. The lowest agreement was found for questions assessing joint parent–child activities, such as sports (27%; Kappa (κ) = 0.14) or watching TV (30%;κ = 0.17), and for parental allowance of the child to have soft drinks (32%;κ = 0.24) or fruit juices (32%;κ = 0.19), or to watch TV (27%;κ = 0.17). Having breakfast products available at home or having a TV in the child’s bedroom were the only practices with moderate to good agreement (>60%;κ = 0.06 and 0.77, respectively). In general, agreement was lower for boys, younger children, younger parents, parents with less than 14 years of education, single parents, parents with a higher self-reported body mass index and parents who perceived their child to be underweight. Conclusions Parents and children perceive parental practices regarding dietary, physical activity and sedentary behaviours differently in all parts of Europe, with considerable variation across specific practices and countries. Therefore, future studies should assess both, parents and children’s view on parental practices.

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