A comparative study of the relationship between parenting styles and bmi scores of children in low and high socio economic areas
Globally childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic, which is resulting in a generation of children who will live a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Researchers claim that overweight and obesity in school going children is on the rise with very few publications that have examined its significance and prevalence in South Africa. Recent research indicates that parenting styles are a contributing factor towards children’s weight status and obesegenic behaviours (such as eating patterns). Recent studies have identified a gap in this area where more informed research needs to be conducted on this topic. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between parenting styles and BMI scores of school children in low and high socio economic areas. A quantitative cross sectional study, with correlational, comparative research design was conducted. This study used a multi stage sampling procedure which included convenient sampling and cluster sampling to identify the areas as well as the schools relevant to the study. The sample size consisted of all the grade 2 learners in the 4 randomly selected schools (200 male and 166 female learners) with a primary care giver (366). The final sample consisted of 366 learners and 366 primary caregivers from the 4 different schools which provided a final sample of 732 participants. The parents completed the Parenting Style and Dimensions Questionnaire (PSDQ) and the BMI of the children was manually taken. Findings of the study show that authoritative parenting styles are higher in high socio economic areas but this style of parenting has a higher prevalence in both socio economic areas when compared to the other parenting style typologies. Furthermore the BMI scores in low socio economic areas were documented as being more in line with the WHO growth curves assigned to that age group as compared to the high socio economic areas that did not meet those growth curve markers. There was no clear correlation identified between the parenting style and increased BMI scores.