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Maternal Concern about Child Weight in a Study of Weight-Discordant Siblings

Authors

  • Tanja V. E. Kral Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    2. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Correspondence to:

      Tanja V. E. Kral, Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, School of Nursing and Perelman School of Medicine, 308 Claire M. Fagin Hall, 418 Curie Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4217. E-mail: tkral@nursing.upenn.edu

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  • Reneé H. Moore Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Statistics, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
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  • Charlene W. Compher Ph.D.

    1. Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Abstract

Objective

This study examined concern about child weight in mothers of weight-discordant siblings and determined the accuracy of maternal self-report versus measured child height, weight, and corresponding body mass index (BMI; kg/m2) z-score.

Design and Sample

Discordant sibling design. Forty-seven mothers of 5- to 12-year-old, weight-discordant siblings.

Measures

Mothers self-reported their concern about child weight for each child separately and for a subset of children, self-reported their heights and weights. Siblings' height, weight, waist circumference, and adiposity were measured.

Results

The majority (83%) of mothers expressed concern about their overweight/obese child's weight and 20% of mothers expressed concern about their normal-weight child's weight (p < .001). Difference scores in maternal concern about child weight were positively associated with difference scores in sibling BMI z-score (r = 0.42; p = .01) and percent body fat (r = 0.56; p < .001). For overweight/obese children only, maternal-reported child heights and weights were significantly lower compared to the measured values (p < .03).

Conclusions

One fifth of mothers of weight-discordant siblings were unconcerned about their overweight/obese child's weight and for overweight/obese children only, mothers tended to underreport children's height and weight. Mothers' concern for their overweight/obese child's weight was greater for sibling pairs who were more discordant in their weight.

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