Composite Measures Quantify Households' Obesogenic Potential and Adolescents' Risk Behaviors

Anne Carolyn Grunseit*, Alan J. Taylor, Louise Lawson Hardy, Lesley King

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to generate composite measures quantifying a household's obesogenic potential and to examine the relationship of the composite variables with older children's eating, physical activity (PA), and small screen recreation. METHODS: Data were from surveys with 1685 child-parent pairs in which the child was in grade 6, 8, or 10 (mean age: 14 years). Composite measures of the obesogenic household environment were generated from 11 measures using nonlinear principal components analysis. Associations between the composite measures and the children's healthy and unhealthy food intake, PA, and screen time were tested (adjusting for demographic characteristics). RESULTS: Two scales were generated: (1) obesogenic control, which clustered together factors that mitigate risk; and (2) obesogenic risk. Higher scores on the control scale were associated with higher adolescent intake of healthy foods, lower intake of unhealthy foods, higher PA, and less screen time. Higher scores on the risk scale were associated with lower adolescent intake of healthy foods, higher intake of unhealthy foods, lower PA, and more screen time. There were significant 2-way interactions between the scales for soft drink consumption and PA. CONCLUSIONS: Household obesogenic potential may be quantified as 2 factors reflecting cumulative risk and control practices. These factors have both additive associations with obesogenic behaviors and, in some cases, modify each other, suggesting that a healthy home environment requires attention to both. Health promotion messages could incorporate these 2 different but interacting factors that parents can use to modify the obesogenic potential of their household.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e308-e316
    Number of pages9
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


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