Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Child Development



First Reader/Committee Chair

Wong, Eugene


The growing childhood obesity epidemic and its association with adverse health outcomes have prompted increasing research in the recent past. Researchers have examined numerous aspects of the obesity epidemic. For example, the impact of parent behavior on child behavior has been considered. Likewise, researchers have examined the connection between parent perceptions of obesity and concern regarding a child’s weight status. Still other research has focused on the influence of a child’s behavior on weight status.

Existing research has reported that within the African American community there is an apparent inaccuracy in perceptions regarding weight. Children who would be classified as overweight or obese according to body mass index (BMI) calculations are viewed by parents as having normal or healthy weight. Thus, among African-American parents, there is often no correlation between a child’s weight status and the parent’s perception of a weight concern. Moreover, it is not clear that there is a relation between parent concern regarding a child’s weight status and the amount of physical activity that the child engages in among African-American individuals. Further, it is not clear what relations may exist among parent physical activity level, child physical activity level, and the child’s BMI status. Finally, after conducting a semi-exhaustive study of the research, the links among child dietary habits, parent dietary habits, and the child’s BMI status in the African American population have not been addressed.

The purpose of this study is to more closely examine the impact of risk factors such as parental physical activity, dietary habits, and parent concern and perception regarding weight on children’s weight status within an African American sample.