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Psychometrics of the preschooler physical activity parenting practices instrument among a Latino sample

Teresia M O’Connor12*, Ester Cerin34, Sheryl O Hughes1, Jessica Robles1, Deborah I Thompson1, Jason A Mendoza16, Tom Baranowski1 and Rebecca E Lee5

Author Affiliations

1 USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, 1100 Bates St, Houston, TX 77030, USA

2 Academic General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA

3 Institute of Human Performance, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR

4 Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia

5 College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, USA

6 Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2014, 11:3  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-11-3

Published: 15 January 2014



Latino preschoolers (3-5 year old children) have among the highest rates of obesity. Low levels of physical activity (PA) are a risk factor for obesity. Characterizing what Latino parents do to encourage or discourage their preschooler to be physically active can help inform interventions to increase their PA. The objective was therefore to develop and assess the psychometrics of a new instrument: the Preschooler Physical Activity Parenting Practices (PPAPP) among a Latino sample, to assess parenting practices used to encourage or discourage PA among preschool-aged children.


Cross-sectional study of 240 Latino parents who reported the frequency of using PA parenting practices. 95% of respondents were mothers; 42% had more than a high school education. Child mean age was 4.5 (±0.9) years (52% male). Test-retest reliability was assessed in 20%, 2 weeks later. We assessed the fit of a priori models using Confirmatory factor analyses (CFA). In a separate sub-sample (35%), preschool-aged children wore accelerometers to assess associations with their PA and PPAPP subscales.


The a-priori models showed poor fit to the data. A modified factor structure for encouraging PPAPP had one multiple-item scale: engagement (15 items), and two single-items (have outdoor toys; not enroll in sport-reverse coded). The final factor structure for discouraging PPAPP had 4 subscales: promote inactive transport (3 items), promote screen time (3 items), psychological control (4 items) and restricting for safety (4 items). Test-retest reliability (ICC) for the two scales ranged from 0.56-0.85. Cronbach’s alphas ranged from 0.5-0.9. Several sub-factors correlated in the expected direction with children’s objectively measured PA.


The final models for encouraging and discouraging PPAPP had moderate to good fit, with moderate to excellent test-retest reliabilities. The PPAPP should be further evaluated to better assess its associations with children’s PA and offers a new tool for measuring PPAPP among Latino families with preschool-aged children.

Physical activity; Parenting practices; Latino; Hispanic; Preschool child; Confirmatory factor analysis