Parents’ perception of the child’s body weight

Parents are important factors in change and support for healthy growth and development during childhood. However, numerous studies have shown that parents may not be able to accurately determine their child’s weight status. The purpose of the current study published in the journal Obesity Facts, in which our Center associates participated, was to assess parents’ perceptions of their child’s weight status and to identify predictors of potential misperceptions of parents in 22 different countries. A total of 64.1% of parents accurately categorized their child’s weight status in relation to WHO growth charts. However, parents are more likely to underestimate their child’s weight if the child is overweight (82.3%) or obese (93.8%). Parents underestimated the weight of their child if the child is male, the parent has a lower level of education, the father answered and not the mother, and the family lived in a rural area. Overall, parental nutritional status (expressed by body mass index) was not strongly associated with underestimating children’s weight status, but there was a stronger association in some countries. This interesting study deepens the knowledge of the factors that influence parents’ perception of their child’s weight status. Public health interventions aimed at promoting the healthy growth and development of children should take into account the knowledge and perceptions of parents, as well as the socio-cultural contexts in which children and families live.