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February 13, 2013

Study: parents focused on child’s health, weight

Data from 2012 Parker County children’s health study released

By BRIAN SMITH

Parker County parents are showing more interest in helping their children becoming more healthy, the results of a 2012 survey released Tuesday afternoon shows.

The Community Wide Children’s Health Assessment and Planning Survey, which was started by Cook’s Children’s Hospital in 2008, was released during the Parker County Health Summit at the Doss Heritage and Culture Center. The findings from the 2012 survey showed some improvements over the 2008 survey.

Nearly 350 parents, or about 19 percent of the county, responded, according to Larry Tubb, executive director of the Center for Children’s Health at Cook’s, which sponsored the survey. Parents of children ages 0-14 were surveyed.

Ninety-three percent of parents rated their children’s overall health as excellent or very good, compared to 85 percent in 2008.

The number of children obese or overweight is still about 32 percent, the same as in 2008.

The Healthy Children Coalition for Parker County, which was formed last year as a result of the survey, chose obesity as the childhood problem it wanted to focus most on, according to Michelle Buchanan with the Weatherford Center of Hope.

“We saw where we in Parker County had a very high overweight and obese population and also a high amount of children with a large amount of computer time,” Buchanan said. “We also had the lowest amount of children (among the six counties surveyed) of parents talking to children about their eating, so it seemed a simple concept for us to address.”

Tubb said the percentage of parents talking to their children about eating healthy has doubled from 25 percent to 50 percent in the last four years. Part of the increase is due to a change in thinking, Tubb said.

“The mindset on (childhood obesity) used to be something they’ll outgrow,” Tubb said. “More and more parents are seeing that it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.”

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