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Pediatr Nurs. 2000 Jan-Feb;26(1):23-30.

Parental perceptions of the preschool obese child.

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Arlington County Health Department, Arlington, VA, USA.


Childhood obesity is a serious public health problem today with many potential complications and adverse outcomes for children. How parents view their children's weight is an important consideration for nurses. The purpose of this study was to increase staff understanding of parents' views so that interventions could be developed to achieve improved outcomes in attenuating the rate of weight gain in obese children. A questionnaire was administered to 200 parents, mostly Hispanic, of obese children to determine the parents' perceptions of their child's obesity. The study revealed that 35% of parents did not believe their obese child was overweight and 53% had no problem controlling what their child eats. However, 78% of parents expressed concern about heart disease as a consequence of childhood obesity. The study demonstrated that parents acknowledge some health risks of obesity but that interventions in treating childhood obesity need to begin with the understanding of parents' perceptions of their own child's obesity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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