Background: A parent's perception about their child's overweight status is an important precursor or determinant of preventative actions. Acknowledgment of, and concern for, overweight may be moderated by the parent's own weight status whereas engaging in healthy behaviors at home may promote healthy weight status. It is hypothesized that normal weight parents are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors and acknowledge overweight in their own children whereas heavier parents may report more concern about child weight. Methods: A total of 1745 parents of first- through fifth-grade students completed a questionnaire assessing reactions to a school BMI report and perceptions about BMI issues. Specific items included perceptions of child's weight status, concern for child weight status, and preventive practices. Parents also provided information about their own weight status. Relationships between measured child weight, perceived child weight, parent weight, parent concern, and healthy behaviors were examined. Results: Overweight parents were more likely to identify overweight in their child and report concern about their child's weight. Concern was higher for parents of overweight children than of normal weight children. Normal weight parents and parents of normal weight children reported more healthy behaviors. Conclusions: Results support the hypothesis that normal weight parents are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors and that overweight parents are more likely to report concern about child weight. However, overweight parents are also more likely to acknowledge overweight status in their own child. Future research should examine links between parent concern and actual pursuit of weight management assistance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics