Parental attitudes toward child nutrition and weight have a limited relationship with child's weight status
Gray, V.B. | Byrd, S.H. | Cossman, J.S. | Chromiak, J.A. | Cheek, W. | Jackson, G.
Childhood overweight is an increasing health concern; better understanding of parental attitudes related to child nutrition is needed to moderate the trend. This study investigated parental attitudes related to childhood overweight and differences between families with children at risk for overweight or overweight (age- and sex-specific body mass index at or above the 85th percentile) and families with children not at risk for overweight. Surveys were administered to parents of second graders, and anthropometric measurements were collected on second graders (N = 169 matched surveys and measurements). Surveys assessed parental concern for overweight, parental control over child feeding, attitudes toward potential causes of overweight, and support for potential mediating efforts. Although 41.4% of children were classified as at risk for overweight, only 12.4% of parents considered their children to be overweight. Parents of children at risk for overweight or overweight expressed similar levels of concern about health/developmental issues, control over child feeding, and attitudes toward contributors to overweight and moderators of overweight. It was found that parents of children at risk for overweight or overweight were more likely to attribute overweight to dietary factors, whereas parents of children not at risk for overweight were more likely to attribute overweight to sedentary activity. Efforts should be made to increase awareness about the identification of and causes of overweight and to act upon parent-supported mediators of overweight in the school setting and environment.Show more [+] Less [-]