Change in misperception of child's body weight among parents of American preschool children

Dustin Duncan, Andrew R. Hansen, Wei Wang, Fei Yan, Jian Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Little is known about parental recognition of their child's overweight status over time. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of parental misperceptions related to preschool children's weight in the last two decades. Methods: Data come from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 1994 (early survey; n=3839) and 2007 to 2012 (recent survey; n=3153). Parents were asked whether they considered their child, ages 2-5 years, to be overweight, underweight, or just about the right weight. We estimated the probability ratio (PR) between the two surveys for parents perceiving their overweight child as overweight. Results: Percentages of parents who inappropriately perceived their overweight child as just about the right weight was 96.6% and 94.9% for the early and recent survey, respectively. As high as 78.4% of parents perceived their obese child as just about the right weight in the recent survey. The probability of overweight/obese children being perceived as overweight in the early survey was 0.18 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.14-0.22) and further lowered to 0.14 (95% CI=0.11-0.17) in the recent survey. After adjustment for sociodemographics and BMI z-scores of directly measured body weight, probability of being appropriately perceived by the parents declined by 30% between surveys (PR=0.70 [0.63, 0.78]). Conclusions: There was a declining tendency among parents to perceive overweight children appropriately. Strategies are needed to explore how to encourage clinician discussions with parents about appropriate weight for their child and strengthen capacity for childhood obesity prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-393
Number of pages10
JournalChildhood Obesity
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

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Preschool Children
Parents
Body Weight
Weights and Measures
Confidence Intervals
Surveys and Questionnaires
Thinness
Nutrition Surveys
Pediatric Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Change in misperception of child's body weight among parents of American preschool children. / Duncan, Dustin; Hansen, Andrew R.; Wang, Wei; Yan, Fei; Zhang, Jian.

In: Childhood Obesity, Vol. 11, No. 4, 01.08.2015, p. 384-393.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Duncan, Dustin ; Hansen, Andrew R. ; Wang, Wei ; Yan, Fei ; Zhang, Jian. / Change in misperception of child's body weight among parents of American preschool children. In: Childhood Obesity. 2015 ; Vol. 11, No. 4. pp. 384-393.
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