Parental perception of overweight in 3–5 y olds

Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.
International Journal of Obesity (Impact Factor: 5). 05/2005; 29(4):353-5. DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802889
Source: PubMed


To assess the accuracy of parents' perceptions of their 3 to 5 y old children's weight status in a large UK sample.
Parental perception and concern about child weight, demographic variables, and children's height and weight were obtained for 564 parent-child dyads.
Only 1.9% of parents of overweight children and 17.1% of parents of obese children described their child as overweight. The odds of parents perceiving the child as overweight were increased for overweight (2.7; 95% CI 0.4, 16.5) and obese (28.5; 7.1, 115.4) compared with normal weight children, but were not associated with parental weight or with any demographic factors. Although few parents perceived their overweight children as overweight, more (66.2%) expressed concern about their overweight child becoming overweight in the future. Odds of concern were progressively higher for overweight (2.5; 1.6, 3.9) and obese children (4.6; 2.2, 9.7), and were also higher for parents who were themselves overweight (1.9; 1.2, 2.9) or obese (2.5; 1.3, 4.8).
These findings suggest that parents of 3-5 y olds show poor awareness of their child's current weight status. Reframing discussions in terms of preventing future overweight may be an effective way to engage parents.

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    • "Some parents appeared to disagree entirely with the feedback, or agreed their child was overweight but attributed it to puppy fat, genetics or stature, and did not consider it to be impeding their health. The most common belief was that the child would grow out of being overweight; a finding consistent with previous research (Carnell et al., 2005) suggesting that being overweight is viewed as a temporary issue, whereas there is substantial evidence indicating that obesity in childhood tracks into adulthood (Singh et al., 2008). Some parents suggested that the finding of being overweight was a result of the child being tall or short; however, because BMI is a height/weight ratio, this may indicate some misunderstanding of how BMI is calculated, which has also been demonstrated in previous research (Oettinger et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The present study aimed to explore parental perceptions of overweight children and associated health risks after receiving National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) weight feedback. Methods Fifty-two parents of overweight and obese children aged 4–5 years and 10–11 years enrolled in the NCMP programme in England in 2010–2011 participated in qualitative, semi-structured interviews about their perceptions of their child's weight and health risk after receiving weight feedback. Interviews were audio tape recorded and were conducted either by telephone (n = 9) or in the respondents’ homes (n = 41). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using interpretative thematic analysis. ResultsParents who received NCMP written feedback informing them that their child was overweight disregarded the results because they viewed ‘health and happiness as being more important than weight’. The feedback was viewed as less credible because it did not consider the individual child's lifestyle. ‘Broad definitions of healthy’ were described that did not include weight, such as reference to the child having good emotional and physical health and a healthy diet. Parents attributed weight to ‘inherited/acquired factors’ such as genetics or puppy fat, or did not regard their child's ‘appearance’ as reflecting being overweight. ‘Cultural influence’ also meant that being overweight was not viewed negatively by some non-white parents. Conclusions After receiving written weight feedback, parents use methods other than actual weight when evaluating their child's weight status and health risks. Parents’ conceptions of health and weight should be considered when communicating with parents, with the aim of bridging the gap between parental recognition of being overweight and subsequent behaviour change.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
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    • "Selective acculturation however, may pose as a food-related determinant of obesity in Latina women, where some traditional health behaviors are maintained while new health behaviors are acquired as they settle into American culture [28]. Thus, culturally-aware nutritionists, dietitians, or RN-led groups that facilitate peer connections and discussions about traditional and American culture in relation to nutrition, feeding , weight, and cooking may foster home environments that promote healthier eating and physical activity, thus providing more effective and sustainable interventions [29]. 6) Finally, mothers in our sample highlighted the power teachers have over students' receptivity to new information . "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to better understand current knowledge of health and nutrition, barriers to improving eating habits, and preferences for school-based interventions among low-income Latina moth-ers. Qualitative research methods and analysis were employed. Eighteen mothers of preschool-aged chil-dren participated in a focus group interview. Find-ings indicate that mothers have an understanding of healthy eating, but identified issues with connecting food with weight and in understanding definitions of "obese". Further, respondents identified barriers to incorporating healthier foods and cooking methods into daily life, due to family food preferences, cultural practices, and schedules. Mother's concerns about the future weight and the health of their children ap-peared to motivate interest in improving feeding be-haviors. Desired interventions of mothers highlight the importance of culturally relative solutions to be-havior change towards healthy eating.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Open Journal of Nursing
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    • "Parental weight status and parental mental health status were identified as the final two antecedents. Parental weight status, specifically maternal overweight, has been posited to have an impact on a parent's perception of their child's weight (Contento et al. 2003, Adams et al. 2005, Carnell et al. 2005, West et al. 2008, Wen & Hui 2010, Hearst et al. 2011). Adams and colleagues assert that parents who struggle with their own weight may have difficulty recognizing overweight in their children and may have a higher threshold for defining what overweight means. "
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    ABSTRACT: AimThis article is a report of an analysis of the concept of parental perception of child weight. Background Perception is commonly studied, but lacks a strong conceptual definition. Concept analysis is important in providing a conceptual definition of parental perception of child weight. DesignRodgers's evolutionary view of concept analysis guided this enquiry. Data sourcesA search of multiple nursing and social sciences databases was undertaken, including CINAHL, Academic Search Complete, Science Direct, ProQuest, PsychINFO, Medline and SocINDEX. Review methodsData from 2000-2012 related to the concept of interest were reviewed. Fifty-eight articles meeting the inclusion criteria were included. Key attributes, antecedent occurrences and consequences of the concept's use were identified. Thematic analysis revealed common themes related to the concept attributes, antecedents and consequences. ResultsFive attributes were identified including: parental recognition of body size, physical appearance, functional abilities, psychosocial effects and health effects related to body weight. Antecedents of this concept are parental beliefs and values about body weight, fatalism, societal normalization of overweight, parental weight status and parental mental health status. The consequences of this concept are parental concern, increased knowledge about obesity-related health risks, motivation to make changes and family lifestyle changes. The ultimate goal is a healthy weight for the child. ConclusionsA middle-range explanatory theory of parental perception of child weight was proposed. Parents who recognize child weight issues may be motivated to initiate lifestyle changes, resulting in a healthy weight for the child.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of Advanced Nursing
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