Introduction: A heavier weight in adults is becoming the norm rather than an abnormal weight. Whether the same trend is happening in children is unknown.
Objective: To assess the perception of the weight of 4- to 5-year-old children and the recognition of overweight by both parents.
Design: Population-based survey.
Participants: A questionnaire was sent to parents of 1155 4- to 5-year-old children.
Results: In total, 439 questionnaires (35%) were returned. Of all, 90% of the children had a normal weight, 9.3% were overweight and 4.1% were obese. For all weight classes, the parents depicted the child as lighter on both the verbal and visual scale. Of all, 75% of mothers of overweight children stated that the child had a normal weight. In obese children, 50% of the mothers believed that the child had a normal weight.
Conclusion: Children with a weight in the normal range were considered by their parents as a little too light or too light. Overweight was considered as normal weight, and obesity as normal or a little too heavy. The perception of a normal weight in children at 4–5 years is distorted.