Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Suzanne Hartman

Committee Co-Chair

Jessica Troilo

Committee Member

Suzanne Hartman

Committee Member

Jessica Troilo

Committee Member

Barbara Warash


Young children living in poverty are exposed to a number of barriers in their environment that put them at risk for physical health problems, specifically obesity and increased BMI. Physical activity level, food choices, and parental perceptions of children's weight are barriers to healthy weight in children and can consequently lead to other future developmental problems. A population of low income, preschool aged children was examined using measures of child BMI, parental income, parental education, fast food consumption, amount of TV watched, and parental perceptions of children's weight. Findings showed child BMI was related to children watching more TV in a week, suggesting that low income children may be engaging in too much sedentary activity. There was also significance found in the relationship between parental perceptions of children's weight and their BMI, highlighting that parents in the current study were actually correct in perceiving their children's weight. Lastly, parental perceptions were also linked to the number of days in a week that children watched TV. This finding shows that parents who perceived their children as being overweight were also allowing their children to watch more TV than parents who perceived their children as being of average weight or underweight.