Accuracy of weight status perception in contemporary Australian children and adolescents

Abbott, Rebecca A., Lee, Amanda J., Stubbs, Christina O. and Davies, Peter S. W. (2010) Accuracy of weight status perception in contemporary Australian children and adolescents. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 46 6: 343-348. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1754.2010.01719.x

Author Abbott, Rebecca A.
Lee, Amanda J.
Stubbs, Christina O.
Davies, Peter S. W.
Title Accuracy of weight status perception in contemporary Australian children and adolescents
Journal name Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1034-4810
Publication date 2010-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2010.01719.x
Volume 46
Issue 6
Start page 343
End page 348
Total pages 6
Place of publication Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Publisher Blackwell Scientific
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject 1111 Nutrition and Dietetics
1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine
Formatted abstract
Aim: To explore weight status perception and its relation to actual weight status in a contemporary cohort of 5-to 17-year-old children and adolescents.

Methods: Body mass index (BMI), derived from height and weight measurements, and perception of weight status ('too thin', 'about right' and 'too fat') were evaluated in 3043 participants from the Healthy Kids Queensland Survey. In children less than 12 years of age, weight status perception was obtained from the parents, whereas the adolescents self-reported their perceived weight status.

Compared with measured weight status by established BMI cut-offs, just over 20% of parents underestimated their child's weight status and only 1% overestimated. Adolescent boys were more likely to underestimate their weight status compared with girls (26.4% vs. 10.2%, P < 0.05) whereas adolescent girls were more likely to overestimate than underestimate (11.8% vs. 3.4%, P < 0.05). Underestimation was greater by parents of overweight children compared with those of obese children, but still less than 50% of parents identified their obese child as 'too fat'. There was greater recognition of overweight status in the adolescents, with 83% of those who were obese reporting they were 'too fat'.

Whilst there was a high degree of accuracy of weight status perception in those of healthy weight, there was considerable underestimation of weight status, particularly by parents of children who were overweight or obese. Strategies are required that enable parents to identify what a healthy weight looks like and help them understand when intervention is needed to prevent further weight gain as the child gets older.
© 2010 The Authors
Journal compilation © 2010 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians).

Keyword Australia
Weight status
Body-mass index
Childhood obesity
International survey
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 19 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 04 Jul 2010, 00:03:23 EST