Categories: Health

Yale Researchers Show Parents Underestimate Their Children’s Weight

Yale Study Shows Parents Underestimate Their Children's Weight

A new study form Yale University details how some parents underestimate their children’s weight, a misperception with important implications for clinical prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.

Janet A. Lydecker, PhD, postdoctoral associate in psychiatry, and Carlos M. Grilo, PhD, professor of psychiatry and of psychology, and director of the Yale Program for Obesity Weight and Eating Research, surveyed 1,007 parents of children 5 to 15 years old. Parents were asked to give opinions about their own weight and eating, and that of their children.

The results revealed parents were significantly less likely to be accurate about their child’s obesity than their own obesity. In the survey, 49 percent of parents correctly labeled their child’s weight-status, while 45.2 percent underestimated it. About themselves, 62.8 percent correctly labeled their own weight-status, while 30.1 percent underestimated it.

The study, published in the research journal Obesity, also found that perceived child weight was related to disordered eating, body image concerns, and parent feeding practices more so than the child’s or parent’s actual weight, Lydecker said.

“I have a particular interest in the role parents play in childhood eating disorders and obesity, including parents’ perceptions of eating- and weight-related problems and their corresponding parenting practices,” she said. “Parents have considerable influence on their children’s health, and have—for the overwhelming majority—good intentions, which makes them key agents of change in the prevention and treatment of childhood weight and eating disorders.”

According to the paper, results of the study “suggest a dual need to improve parent accuracy perceiving children’s overweight/obesity and to guide parent responses to perceived overweight/obesity.”

The study will be presented as a poster at the Society for Behavioral Medicine annual meeting March 30 in Washington, DC.

Publication: Janet A. Lydecker and Carlos M. Grilo, “The apple of their eye: Attitudinal and behavioral correlates of parents’ perceptions of child obesity,” Obesity, 2016; DOI: 10.1002/oby.21439

Share
By
Christopher S Gardner, Yale University

Recent Posts

20 Times More Intense: New Material Will Help Improve Phone and Television Displays

Researchers have created fluorophores between 2.4 and 20 times more intense than analogs. Scientists have…

November 29, 2022

At Risk for Diabetes? Scientists Recommend Doing This

A new study recommends cutting carbs.  Although low-carb diets are often recommended for individuals who…

November 29, 2022

NASA Assesses Launch Pad for Damage After Launch of the World’s Most Powerful Rocket

Following the successful Artemis I liftoff of the world’s most powerful rocket from NASA’s Kennedy…

November 29, 2022

History-Making Event: Orion Goes the (Max) Distance – 268,563 Miles From Earth

NASA Artemis I — Flight Day 13: Orion Goes the (Max) Distance Just after 3…

November 29, 2022

Autism Breakthrough: New Treatment Significantly Improves Social Skills and Brain Function

The treatment caused neurological changes, including a decrease in inflammation and an increase in functionality,…

November 29, 2022

Seemingly Impossible: Nanostructure Compresses Light 10,000 Times Thinner Than a Human Hair

This major scientific advance has implications for many fields, including energy-efficient computers and quantum technology.…

November 29, 2022