Document Type

Journal Article


Objective. To examine the relationship between weight status and child, parent and community characteristics among young boys and girls. Methods. Cross-sectional data were collected from 1 299 5-7-year-old children and their parents from 20 government primary schools in New South Wales, Australia. Measures included parental report of time spent in physical and sedentary activities, time spent with parents, parental working hours, parental perceptions of their child's physical competence and children's actual physical competence. Results. Overweight boys spent more time watching television (p = 0.001 for weekday) and in quiet play (p = 0.007 for weekdays and p = 0.006 for weekends) and less time away from their parents (p = 0.01) than their lean counterparts. Parents of overweight boys perceived them to be less competent in the skill of running than parents of non-overweight boys (p = 0.001). Overweight girls spent more time watching television on weekends compared with their non-overweight peers (p = 0.008), and were less proficient in overall actual competence (p = 0.008), particularly overall locomotor skill proficiency (p = 0.001). Conclusions. Several modifiable relationships between weight status and child, parental and community characteristics were identified. Importantly these relationships differed between boys and girls. We suggest that early school years may be an appropriate time to intervene through targeting the identified characteristics.