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Keywords:

  • Body mass index;
  • Child obesity;
  • Chinese child health;
  • Weight-related concerns and behaviors

Abstract

Aims:  To examine the prevalence rate of misperception, assess the relationship between weight perception and weight-related behaviors in Chinese children.

Methods:  A total of 2708 children aged 7–12 years from five public primary schools and their parents completed questionnaires assessing social demographic background, dietary and activity related factors. Weight and height were measured by trained investigators. The prevalence of misperception was defined by comparing calculated BMI and their perceived weight status. Log-binomial model yielded adjusted prevalence ratios (PRs) for each behavior by weight misperception in boys and girls separately.

Results:  Misperception was more prevalent in normal weight children 33.3% for girls and 40.5% for boys and boys were more likely to underestimate their weight status than girls. Associations were observed between misperceived thinness and eating before bed, want to eat seeing others eating, eating sugar and snacks frequently, monophagia and choosy in food both in girls and boys. And associations between misperceived fatness and depression and want to eat seeing others eating were found only in girls.

Conclusions:  Our findings underscore the importance of weight perception in shaping realistic body image among normal weight children. Education must be introduced to help children accurately look on their body shape.