Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States. Parental perception of their children's weight status is a key factor that needs to be considered when developing prevention programs for preschool children. Using a randomly selected sample of participants of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Los Angeles County, we assessed accuracy of maternal perceptions of their children's weight status by comparing children's weight classification to the mothers' response to the question Do you consider your child to be overweight, underweight or about right weight for (his) (her) height Additionally, we identified possible predictors of accurate maternal perception of their children's weight status by conducting a logistic regression model with child's gender, child's birth weight, maternal age, maternal BMI, maternal education, maternal acculturation level, and maternal language preference as potential predictors. Almost all mothers in the study classified their overweight or obese child as being about the right weight (93.6% and 77.5% of mothers, respectively). Maternal BMI and child's birth weight were the only predictors of maternal perception of their child's weight. Both were negatively associated with accuracy, with higher maternal BMI and higher infant birthweight associated with less accurate maternal perception of child weight. Parents need to be educated on the importance of childhood obesity and how to identify if their children are overweight or obese. If parents fail to recognize that their overweight child is overweight, then it is unlikely that they will recognize that interventions targeting obesity are relevant to their families.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics