(HealthDay News) — Today, overweight/obese children are less likely to be perceived as overweight by their parents compared to 10 years ago, according to a study published online August 25 in Pediatrics.
Andrew R. Hansen, DrPH, from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, and colleagues examined data collected in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 1988–1994 (2,871 children) and 2005–2010 (3,202 children). The authors sought to examine the generational shifting of parental perceptions regarding children’s (age 6–11 years) weight.
The researchers found that for children who were parentally perceived as overweight, the 10th percentile of body mass index z scores shifted significantly from the 84th percentile of reference population in the early survey to the 91st percentile in the recent survey (P<0.05). Between surveys there was also an increase in the mean z score of children parentally perceived as overweight, with the largest increase among children from poor families (from 1.60 to 1.98; P<0.05) and in African-Americans (from 1.65 to 2.02; P<0.05). There was a 24% decrease between surveys in the probability of overweight/obese children being correctly perceived as overweight by parents (probability ratio, 0.76).
“The declining tendency among parents to perceive overweight children appropriately may indicate a generational shift in social norms related to body weight,” the authors write.