Poster Topical Area: Obesity
Location: Hall D
Poster Board Number: 648
To explore parents' knowledge of and behaviors associated with their elementary school children's sleep patterns.
Parents of 6- to 11-year-old children from 3 states (FL, NJ, WV) completed a survey (n=185) and of these 37 participated in focus groups<./p>
Survey results indicated that nearly all parents (94%) had a set bedtime for their children. Parents in the focus groups recognized the importance of children getting adequate sleep, noting that it promoted optimal performance in school as well as improved mood, prevented misbehavior, and optimized energy levels. However, no one mentioned links between adequate sleep and weight control. Specific bedtime routines varied by family (e.g., music, reading, watching TV, baths, cuddling), with most parents describing routines as being consistent and relaxing. As their kids have gotten older, maintaining a schedule that supports adequate sleep had become more challenging because the kids wanted to stay up later but had to wake up earlier for school, which created conflict at bedtime. Social media and technology (e.g., TV, phones, tables) derailed getting to bed on time as well as extra-curricular activities scheduled late at night. To overcome these barriers, parents had set bedtimes and followed consistent routines. Parents who had established bedtimes for kids advised families that do not have bedtime schedules that setting a bedtime initially may be met by some resistance, but as kids become accustomed to the routine, conflicts over bedtimes will decline. However, parents report that even with a well-established bedtime, they often have to check on their kids soon after they go to bed to be sure that they have turned off all technology and are actually sleeping. Parents did not feel the need to be good role models vis-à-vis sleep for their children because kids went to bed before and/or woke up after parents and were unaware of parents' sleep schedule and routine.
Parents were not aware of the link between sufficient sleep and obesity prevention. Future interventions aiming to promote healthy weight-related behaviors in families should raise parents' awareness of sleep:weight relationships and offer tips for overcoming barriers that interfere with establishing and maintaining bedtime routines.
United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Grant Number 2017-680001-26351
West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia