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Parental perceptions of overweight during early childhood


Goodell, S.

Subject Keywords: A qualitative research paper assessing parents perceptions of their children's weight.
Topic: Obesity
Type: Report
Region: International (other)

This study explored parents' perceptions about their child's appearance and health and evaluated a tool to determine parentsメ visual perception of their childメs weight. Parents of children aged 2 to 17 years were surveyed concerning their childメs appearance and health and opinions about childhood overweight. They also selected the sketch (from 7 choices) that most closely matched the body image of their child using 1 of 8 gender and age-range specific panels of sketches. Respondents were grouped by child body mass index (BMI) percentile Those with BMI 5th percentile were analyzed. Logistic regression was used to examine factors influencing parental perceptions and levels of worry about their overweight or at risk of overweight (AROW) child. Of the 223 children, 19% were AROW, and 20% were overweight. Few parents (36%) identified their overweight or AROW child as 'overweightヤ'or 'a little overweight' using words, but more (70%) selected a middle or heavier sketch. Among parents of overweight and AROW children, 18% recalled a doctorメs concern and 26% were worried about their child's weight. Parents of older children were more likely to be worried if they perceived their child as less active/slower than other children or recalled a doctor's concern. Overall, ecognition of physical activity limitations and physicians' concerns appear to heighten the parent's level of concern. Sketches may be a useful tool to identify overweight children when measurements are not available.



Rights: © 2008 Sage Publications
Suggested citation:

Goodell, S.. (2008) Parental perceptions of overweight during early childhood [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 17th October 2019].


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