PhD student: Alexandre Descarpentrie
Title: Children lifestyle patterns in the general population and those experiencing homelessness: associated contextual family factors and links with health
Supervisor: Sandrine Lioret
Doctoral school: ED 393 Epidemiology and Biomedical Information Sciences, Université Paris Cité
Thesis abstract: Diet, screen time, physical activity and sleep play an important role in children’s health and development. These energy balance-related behaviors do not exist in isolation; on the contrary, they are highly correlated and combine to form so-called “lifestyle patterns” which may exert synergistic effects on health. However, scarce are studies on these lifestyle patterns that have focused on young children, the systemic study of their family socio-ecological covariates, their links with health (other than overweight); and none have investigated such a theme in children experiencing homelessness. Using data from the EDEN mother-child cohort (children aged 5-8 years) and the ENFAMS cross-sectional survey (6-12 years), different lifestyle patterns were identified: “unhealthy”, “healthy” and “mixed”. The “healthy” pattern showed the most similarities between the two studies. It was associated with a better socio-emotional and behavioral development in the children, especially the expression of more prosocial behaviors and fewer symptoms of hyperactivity-inattention. Additionally, this pattern was associated with favorable family factors, more distal and structural in ENFAMS (including socio-economic position, socio-demographic factors but also family life conditions) and more proximal in EDEN (including parent-child daily interactions). These results underline the need to operationalize the socio-ecological model under study to empower parents, with efforts proportionate to the difficulties encountered by families.