The purpose of this study was to examine associations between screen time (ST) parenting practices and 2–5-year-old children’s TV viewing and weight status. Data were collected from 252 parent–child dyads enrolled in a randomized parent-focused childhood obesity prevention trial from 2009–2012. ST parenting practices were assessed at baseline using a validated parent-reported survey. Parent-reported child TV viewing and objectively measured anthropometrics were assessed at baseline, post-intervention (35 weeks), and follow-up (59 weeks). Marginal effect models were developed to test the association between baseline ST parenting practices and children’s TV viewing, BMI z-score, and waist circumference across all time points. Limiting/monitoring ST was associated with decreased weekly TV viewing (β = −1.79, 95% CI: −2.61; −0.95), while exposure to TV was associated with more weekly TV viewing over 59 weeks (β = 1.23, 95% CI: 0.71; 1.75). Greater parent use of ST as a reward was associated with increased child BMI z-score (β = 0.15, 95% CI: 0.03; 0.27), while limiting/monitoring ST was associated with decreased BMI z-score (β = −0.16, 95% CI: −0.30; −0.01) and smaller waist circumference (β = −0.55, 95% CI: −1.04; −0.06) over the study period. These findings suggest that modifying parent ST practices may be an important strategy to reduce ST and promote healthy weight in young children.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, v. 18, issue 14, 7359.

© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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Funding Information

This study was supported by funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01 1HL091093). Additionally, this study was conducted with support from the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill (NIH DK056350), and the study was conducted at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, a member of the Prevention Research Centers Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (#U48-DP000059).

Related Content

Data can be made available by contacting the corresponding author.

The following are available online at https://www.mdpi.com/article/10.3390/ijerph18147359/s1, File S1. List of items for screen time parenting subscales. It is also available for download as the additional file listed at the end of this record.

ijerph-18-07359-s001.zip (123 kB)
Supplementary material