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Parent Underestimation of Child Weight Status and Attitudes towards BMI Screening

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Objective: In this study, we identify predictors of parental underestimation of child weight sta- tus and support for school-based BMI screening and reporting. Methods: Parents of 3rd through 7th grade students (N = 1002) participating in The Fit Study completed mailed surveys assessing parent race/ethnicity, weight status, perception of child weight status, and preference for BMI screening and reporting. Results: Only 33% and 6% of parents classified their overweight child as somewhat overweight and their obese child as very overweight, respectively. Support for BMI screening was stronger among Hispanic (OR = 2.3, p < .001), Asian (OR = 3.7, p < .001), and black (OR = 2.3, p = .04) parents than white parents and weaker among overweight versus normal- weight parents (OR = 0.6, p = .01). Compared to parents of 3rd grade students, parents of older children reported less support for BMI reporting (4th grade: OR = 0.4, p = .04; 6th grade: OR = 0.3, p = .02; 7th grade: OR = 0.3, p = .03). Conclusions: Parent race/ethnicity, parent weight status, and child age are associated with support for BMI screening and reporting..
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Keywords: BMI REPORTING; BMI SCREENING; BODY MASS INDEX (BMI); CHILDHOOD OBESITY; CHILDHOOD OVERWEIGHT; HEALTH BEHAV POLICY REV.&TRADE; WEIGHT STATUS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2019

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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