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Public Health Nutr. 2014 Jan;17(1):170-8. doi: 10.1017/S136898001200479X. Epub 2012 Nov 16.

Children's perceptions of weight, obesity, nutrition, physical activity and related health and socio-behavioural factors.

Author information

1
1 ChildObesity180, Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA.
2
2 John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Prevention, Tufts University, 150 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02111, USA.
3
3 Harris Interactive, New York, NY, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Approximately one-third of children in the USA are either overweight or obese. Understanding the perceptions of children is an important factor in reversing this trend.

DESIGN:

An online survey was conducted with children to capture their perceptions of weight, overweight, nutrition, physical activity and related socio-behavioural factors.

SETTING:

Within the USA.

SUBJECTS:

US children (n 1224) aged 8-18 years.

RESULTS:

Twenty-seven per cent of children reported being overweight; 47·1% of children overestimated the rate of overweight/obesity among US children. A higher percentage of self-classified overweight children (81·9%) worried about weight than did self-classified under/normal weight children (31·1%). Most children (91·1%) felt that it was important to not be overweight, for both health-related and social-related reasons. The majority of children believed that if someone their age is overweight they will likely be overweight in adulthood (93·1%); get an illness such as diabetes or heart disease in adulthood (90·2%); not be able to play sports well (84·5%); and be teased or made fun of in school (87·8%). Children focused more on food/drink than physical activity as reasons for overweight at their age. Self-classified overweight children were more likely to have spoken with someone about their weight over the last year than self-classified under/normal weight children.

CONCLUSIONS:

Children demonstrated good understanding of issues regarding weight, overweight, nutrition, physical activity and related socio-behavioural factors. Their perceptions are important and can be helpful in crafting solutions that will resonate with children.

PMID:
23199642
DOI:
10.1017/S136898001200479X
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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