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Soc Sci Med. 2011 Feb;72(4):469-77. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.11.037. Epub 2010 Dec 16.

Does parental capital influence the prevalence of child overweight and parental perceptions of child weight-level?

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  • 1The Danish Institute Of Governmental Research, 1602 Copenhagen, Denmark.


The prevalence of child obesity has increased steadily in the recent decades. Drawing on Bourdieu's theory of lifestyle connecting objective conditions with preferences, values and behaviour, this paper seeks to provide an extension to previous research, which has found child body formation to be correlated with parental socioeconomic background. The paper shows how parental level of capital, especially cultural capital, influences the prevalence of child overweight and parental perceptions of child weight-levels. Parents with higher levels of cultural capital are less likely to have overweight children and more likely to perceive weight-levels in accordance with the BMI categories. The results also demonstrate clear gender differences. Parents have a tendency to overestimate their daughters' weight-levels while underestimating the weight-levels of their sons compared to the BMI categories. The study is based on Danish survey data from 2007 and uses statistical estimation techniques.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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