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Accuracy of Adults' Perception of Childhood Obesity in a Military Environment

Authors


Correspondence to:

Gordon F. West, PhD Student, Graduate School of Nursing, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814. E-mail: gordon.west@usuhs.edu

Abstract

Objectives

The aim of this study was to determine how accurately adults in a military environment identified images of children within four different categories: underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese.

Design and Sample

For this descriptive correlational research study, the sample was composed of 1,016 adults.

Measures

Chi-square analysis of participant's demographic characteristics and accuracy of identification of six different images of children was conducted.

Results

Statistical significance was demonstrated with participant's self-image and accuracy of identification in four of the six images.

Conclusions

This research supports the conclusion that individuals who classify themselves as overweight or obese are very accurate in correctly classifying images of children in these categories. While this is true our findings demonstrate that a large number of participants do not correctly self-identify themselves. This suggests that educational campaigns need to include educational components to increase awareness of what children are considered overweight or obese. Without this, the potential exists for the message to be missed as the parent could potentially perceive the overweight or obese child as normal.

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