One of the greatest concerns in American society is peoples’ health. In the past several years there has been an overwhelming increase in obesity in Americans. This concern relates not only to adults, but also to children, as more are found to be overweight. Many factors have been suggested as to why more children are becoming obese, including parenting, demographics, physical activity, nutrition, and biological factors. Studies have shown that parental influence or involvement can be related to child obesity such that neglected children were more likely to be obese in adolescence and sustain it through adulthood. In order to further explore the role of parenting, this study examined potential relationships of child obesity and parental influence. This study examined the parental influences on children in the Loma Linda University Department of Pediatrics Growing Fit Program, a pediatric obesity clinic which offers a multi-disciplinary approach to ameliorating child obesity.

This study assessed parental involvement in their child’s diet and activity. This was examined within the context of change of their child’s body mass index (BMI) during the program. It also examined parent’s perceptions of their child’s weight as a problem and how this relates to the parents’ readiness for change in working to improve their child’s health.

Results of the study suggested that there was no significant correlation between general parental involvement and the change in children’s body mass index. A majority of children were able to decrease their BMI throughout the program however, and parents who attended more sessions were more likely to have greater involvement. Analyses also showed that parent’s perceptions of their child’s weight as being a problem was not correlated to parents’ readiness for change. Therefore, although parents may have felt that their child’s weight was a problem, they were not necessarily ready to change or make improvements for their child’s health. However, parental readiness for change was correlated with how they perceived their child’s readiness for change indicating that further examination of these constructs is important in the battle of the pediatric obesity epidemic.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Kiti Freier Randall

Second Advisor

David Vermeersch

Third Advisor

Kim Yee Hamai

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Obesity in children; Eating Disorders -- child; Child psychology; Health Education -- United States. Obesity -- epidemiology -- United States; Body Mass Index -- child; Obesity -- prevention & control -- child; Child Nutrition Physiology; Parent-Child Relations


Doctoral Project

Page Count

viii; 41

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives