Children’s Weights: Perceived vs. Actual

Untitled1Studies have shown that parents tend to underestimate their child’s weight status, particularly parents of children who are considered overweight; recently, Duncan et al. (2015) reported that >75% of parents perceived their child with obesity as ‘just right’ in terms of weight, and similarly, Eckstein et al. (2006) reported that ~65% of parents underestimated their child’s overweight status.

In RIPPLE, parents are asked prior to screening what they think of their child’s weight status (e.g., a little underweight, a little overweight, just right). I took a quick look at the data, and of our sample so far (n=169), children are classified as underweight (5%), normal weight (69%), overweight (15%), and obese (11%). Although preliminary, it’s consistent with previous studies that only 50% of parents of children with overweight and obesity classified them as such. As we continue with recruitment and follow-up, it will be interesting to see if there’s a difference in the primary and secondary outcomes between those parents who do and do not accurately perceive their child’s weight status.

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