UBD research says parents not setting good examples

National 1 minute, 57 seconds


PARENTS’ lack of effort in practicing healthy lifestyle is the main contributing factor to the detriment of children’s health and wellbeing, according to outcomes of two qualitative research studies conducted by Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) PhD students.

Findings of the two researches were based on a sample size of 80 participants comprising teachers, parents and primary school students.

With her preliminary study titled “Factors Influencing Eating Habits and Physical Activity in Bruneian Children and their Parents’, PhD student Zaidah Rizidah Murang, said “parental behaviour” hinders healthy eating and physical activities in children.

“(Parents) have the knowledge of what it takes to lead healthy lifestyles but they fail to practice it,” she said adding that based on her findings parents still prefer the convenience of preparing their children food deemed unhealthy such as instant noodles and processed food.

“(Children) like the salt and the flavour (of) instant noodles,” she said citing quotes from her interviews.

Zaidah Rizidah’s research was based on two government schools. She interviewed 38 participants in the form of focus groups comprising children from primary five, parents and teachers.

“Providing children with instant noodles is the most convenient way for cooking due to the time constraint parents’ face and simply because of the accessibility (of instant noodles at home) and it is a cheap alternative to buying raw ingredients,” she said adding that the preparation of real food requires more effort from parents.

“The same goes for exercising. Parents don’t have the time to accompany their children, they would say,” she said.

Zaidah Rizidah also said through her finding there is a misconception among parents as they perceive genetics as a key contributor to childhood obesity.

In another research by PhD student Siti Tajidah Abd Talip, it was found that some children interviewed in her research made instant noodles a major part of their diet.

“One student even said that he has (instant noodles) up to four times a day,” Siti Tajidah said.

She sampled 42 participants comprising parents teachers and children from primary four in her preliminary research titled “Healthy Eating Practices”.

“Food is a great part of Bruneian culture... Food here is readily available and this doesn’t help the situation (of trying to stay healthy),” she said.

According to Zaidah Rizidah, successful interventions include parental participation as an integral component.

The Brunei Times