Journal of Community Genetics

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 243–250

Ethnicity, educational level and attitudes contribute to parental intentions about genetic testing for child obesity

  • Paul L. Kocken
  • Meinou H. C. Theunissen
  • Yvonne Schönbeck
  • Lidewij Henneman
  • A. Cecile J. W. Janssens
  • Symone B. Detmar
Original Article


The objective of this paper is to assess parental beliefs and intentions about genetic testing for their children in a multi-ethnic population with the aim of acquiring information to guide interventions for obesity prevention and management. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in parents of native Dutch children and children from a large minority population (Turks) selected from Youth Health Care registries. The age range of the children was 5–11 years. Parents with lower levels of education and parents of non-native children were more convinced that overweight has a genetic cause and their intentions to test the genetic predisposition of their child to overweight were firmer. A firmer intention to test the child was associated with the parents’ perceptions of their child’s susceptibility to being overweight, a positive attitude towards genetic testing, and anticipated regret at not having the child tested while at risk for overweight. Interaction effects were found in ethnic and socio-economic groups. Ethnicity and educational level play a role in parental beliefs about child overweight and genetic testing. Education programmes about obesity risk, genetic testing and the importance of behaviour change should be tailored to the cultural and behavioural factors relevant to ethnic and socio-economic target groups.


Genetics Attitude Health promotion Obesity Child 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul L. Kocken
    • 1
    • 2
  • Meinou H. C. Theunissen
    • 1
  • Yvonne Schönbeck
    • 1
  • Lidewij Henneman
    • 3
    • 4
  • A. Cecile J. W. Janssens
    • 5
  • Symone B. Detmar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child HealthTNOLeidenthe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Public Health and Primary CareLeiden University Medical Center (LUMC)Leidenthe Netherlands
  3. 3.EMGO Institute for Healthcare Research, Department of Public and Occupational HealthVU University Medical Center AmsterdamAmsterdamthe Netherlands
  4. 4.EMGO Institute for Healthcare Research, Department of Clinical GeneticsVU University Medical Center AmsterdamAmsterdamthe Netherlands
  5. 5.Department of Public HealthErasmus University Medical Center RotterdamRotterdamthe Netherlands

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