Parental perception of children's weight in a paediatric primary care setting

Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin Children's Hospital, Madison, WI 53792, USA.
Child Care Health and Development (Impact Factor: 1.83). 12/2007; 33(6):738-43. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2007.00753.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To determine how parents of overweight children perceived their children's weight status compared with actual body mass index (BMI).
This descriptive, cross-sectional study assessed parental perception of and concern about weight, diet and physical activity of 3-12-year-olds. BMI values >or=85th and <95th percentile and >or=95th percentile were considered at risk for overweight and overweight respectively. Differences between groups were tested with chi-squared analyses or Fishers exact test as appropriate and further explored using logistic regression analysis.
Questionnaires were completed at 612 health maintenance visits (278 girls). Overall, 15% of both boys and girls were at risk for overweight and 22% of boys and 24% of girls were overweight. Forty-nine per cent of parents recognized their overweight children as overweight. Perceptions were more often correct for parents of girls than boys (63% versus 36%, P < 0.001) and for older compared with younger children (61.7% versus 17.5%, P < 0.001).
Parents of overweight children frequently did not perceive their children as exceeding healthy weight standards. Targeting parental perception as a point of intervention is necessary.

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