Purpose: Obesity is one of the most common chronic diseases in childhood. Many studies offer a variety of explanations for the alarming increase in childhood obesity; however, none discuss why an apparent disconnect exists in parental perceptions of their child’s weight status. The purpose of this article was to review the current research literature on parental perceptions about their children’s weight.
Data source: The articles included in this review were retrieved through a literature search using PubMed. Key words used to obtain relevant articles include childhood obesity, childhood overweight, and parental perception.
Conclusions: Several studies looked at parental perceptions of childhood obesity generated from the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, and the United States. Universally, parents were more likely to misperceive their child’s weight. This was especially true for parents who were themselves overweight.
Implications for practice: If parents do not recognize their child as at risk for overweight or overweight, they cannot intervene to diminish the risk factors for pediatric obesity and its related complications. More research is needed to identify why this phenomenon occurs. Only then can effective interventions be initiated.