The Aftermath of Misperceptions

May 26, 2014 (old blog)

We know from the literature that parents often misperceive their children’s weight status. Few parents of overweight and obese children actually identify them as such, and this phenomenon tends to be more marked among overweight and obese parents in comparison to healthy weight parents. This misperception is of particular concern because parents are less likely to seek out ways to reduce obesity-related health risks if they do not recognize their child’s unhealthy weight status.

A recent article in The New Yorker* discussed this same phenomenon but with respect to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the belief that ASD is caused by vaccinations in infancy, despite that the literature has refuted this relationship. The author noted that while evidence has reduced parents’ misperceptions about the association, for many the intention to vaccinate remains unchanged.

This made me think about RIPPLE… while we hypothesize RIPPLE will correct some parents’ misperceptions of their child’s weight status, we cannot assume this will affect their intentions to seek out resources or services to improve children’s lifestyle behaviours.



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