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What to do when you can’t (afford to) collect your own data? : a test case using the longitudinal study of Australian children to investigate the influence of parental context on media use and obesity

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conference contribution
posted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by Leonie RutherfordLeonie Rutherford, J Brown, Helen Skouteris, M Bittman
The dramatic rise in childhood obesity prevalence in the last two decades has prompted concern about the risk factors that may precipitate or maintain weight gain, or both, in early childhood. Media use has long been implicated in policy debates in Australia, particularly around limits to advertising. However the Australian research funding ecology and dominant paradigms in Australian communication and media studies have resulted in a lack of independent, nationally representative studies upon which to base advice. Australian researchers often can’t afford to collect the kind of data they would like in order to intervene productively as policy actors. As a test case for innovative ways round this dilemma, this paper mobilises secondary data analysis methodologies to explore potential influences of parenting on children’s media use and their weight status.

The research reported here uses data from the first three waves of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Results from a path model suggest that children of mothers who were less consistent in the way in which they enforce their rules were more likely to adopt unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, such as sedentary behaviour and consuming unhealthy snacks. Of the lifestyle behaviours considered, time spent watching television or DVDs was the only predictor of child weight status in late childhood. These results suggest a clear pathway linking consistent parenting and other parental practices, children’s lifestyle behaviours and weight status.



Australian and New Zealand Communication Association. Conference (2012 : Adelaide, S.A.)


1 - 13


Australian and New Zealand Communication Association


Adelaide, S. A.

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[Adelaide, S. A.]

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E1 Full written paper - refereed

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2012, ANZCA

Title of proceedings

ANZCA 2012 : Communicating Change and Changing Communication in the 21st Century

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