Parental Perceptions of Their Adolescent's Weight Status: The ECHO Study

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Objectives : To assess the correlates of parental classification of adolescent weight status.

Methods : Measured adolescent weight status was compared to parent self-report perception data (n 374 dyads) using multivariate analyses with interactions to identify characteristics associated with inaccurate parent classification of adolescent weight status.

Results : Adolescent weight status was underestimated by 31 of parents. College-educated parents were more likely to underestimate the weight of their male adolescents (OR1.95) and overweight adolescents (OR4.0). Non-college-educated parents were 8.92 times as likely to misclassify overweight adolescents, regardless of the sex of the child.

Conclusions : Parental perception may play a role in supporting adolescent's healthy weight-related behaviors.

Keywords: adolescent weight; overweight; parent perceptions; underestimate; weight discordance

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1 Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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