Nutrients 2021; 14(1)

Prospective Association of Maternal Educational Level with Child's Physical Activity, Screen Time, and Diet Quality.

Cárdenas-Fuentes G, Homs C, Ramírez-Contreras C, Juton C, Casas-Esteve R, Grau M, Aguilar-Palacio I, Fitó M, Gómez SF, Schröder H
Evidence has identified unhealthy lifestyle behaviors as the main contributors to obesity in children, so it is essential to identify factors that could influence children's lifestyles. The objective of the present study was to analyze the association of baseline maternal educational level with child's physical activity, screen time, and dietary habits at follow-up. This community-based cohort study was carried out between 2012 and 2014 and included 1405 children aged 8 to 10 years old. Maternal educational level was used as an indicator of child's socioeconomic status. Physical activity, screen time, and dietary habits were assessed by validated questionnaires. The odds of having commercially baked goods for breakfast [OR 1.47 (95% CI 1.03 to 2.10)], going more than once a week to a fast-food restaurant [OR 1.64 (95% CI 1.20 to 2.26)], and taking sweets and candys several times a day [OR 3.23 (95% CI 2.14 to 4.87) were significantly higher among children whose mothers had a lower educational level compared to their peers whose mothers had a higher level. These associations held for taking sweets and candy several times a day after additional adjustment for the corresponding dietary behavior at baseline. Maternal educational level was inversely associated (p < 0.001) with child's screen time at follow up and being in the lowest maternal educational category was associated with an increased odds of surpassing the maximum recommended time of screen time of 120 min per day (OR (95% CI) 1.43 (1.07 to 1.90), p = 0.016). Maternal education is a predictor for unhealthy dietary habits and high screen time in children.