Parental perceptions of factors influencing the development of childhood obesity in Brunei Darussalam: A cross-sectional study.

Zaidah Rizidah MURANG1, NAA TUAH1,2, Lin NAING1.

1Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Jalan Tungku Link, BE1410, Negara Brunei Darussalam

2Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, United Kingdom



Introduction: Childhood obesity has become a global pandemic as the prevalence has increased over the past few decades. Positive perception and attitude among parents are important in the prevention and management of childhood obesity. This study aimed to investigate the parental perception of factors influencing childhood obesity in Brunei Darussalam. Materials and Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted from July to September 2016 using random sampling that involved 358 parents from 4 primary schools in Brunei-Muara district in Brunei. The data collection tool used was modified validated questionnaires with themes such as demographic characteristic, parental knowledge of obesity, children eating habits and physical activity and on their children body weight status. Results: We found 61.4% and 49.4% parents reported ‘inheritance’ and ‘genetics’ as the key contributor to childhood obesity. The majority of parents (80.4%) revealed that their child does not like to eat vegetables because of the taste. Most parents (68.7%) reported their children have sufficient physical activity, despite their children having lower than recommended physical activity (93.0%). Parental fear of crime and traffic dangers are the main barriers to physical activity among children. Most parents (91.8%) did not know how to calculate BMI but 48.1% perceived their children were at their “ideal” weight. Conclusion: Inheritance and genetics, children dislike for vegetables and fear of crime and traffic dangers all play a major role in parents perception of contributory factors to their children’s obesity. Combined with parental misconception of their children adequate level of physical activity, can influence the development of childhood obesity in Brunei. Thus interventional programmes aimed at reducing childhood obesity should also target parental perception of the above factors contributing to their children’s obesity.


Keywords: Childhood obesity, dietary habit, physical activity, child health


Correspondence author: Zaidah Rizidah Binti Murang, PAPRSB Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Gadong, BE1410, Brunei Darussalam.

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 Brunei Int Med J. 2017; 13 (1): 20-26