Parental Recognition of Overweight in School-age Children
Article first published online: 6 SEP 2012
2008 North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO)
Volume 16, Issue 3, pages 630–636, March 2008
How to Cite
West, D. S., Raczynski, J. M., Phillips, M. M., Bursac, Z., Gauss, C. H. and Montgomery, B. E.E. (2008), Parental Recognition of Overweight in School-age Children. Obesity, 16: 630–636. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.108
- Issue published online: 6 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 6 SEP 2012
- Received for review July 31, 2007, Accepted in final from November 15, 2007
Objective: Examine the accuracy of parental weight perceptions of overweight children before and after the implementation of childhood obesity legislation that included BMI screening and feedback.
Methods and Procedures: Statewide telephone surveys of parents of overweight (BMI ≥ 85th percentile) Arkansas public school children before (n = 1,551; 15% African American) and after (n = 2,508; 15% African American) policy implementation were examined for correspondence between parental perception of child's weight and objective classification.
Results: Most (60%) parents of overweight children underestimated weight at baseline. Parents of younger children were significantly more likely to underestimate (65%) than parents of adolescents (51%). Overweight parents were not more likely to underestimate, nor was inaccuracy associated with parental education or socioeconomic status. African-American parents were twice as likely to underestimate as whites. One year after BMI screening and feedback was implemented, the accuracy of classification of overweight children improved (53% underestimation). African-American parents had significantly greater improvements than white parents (P < 0.0001).
Discussion: Parental recognition of childhood overweight may be improved with BMI screening and feedback, and African-American parents may specifically benefit. Nonetheless, underestimation of overweight is common and may have implications for public health interventions.