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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2015, Article ID 307381, 7 pages
Research Article

The Impact of Parents’ Categorization of Their Own Weight and Their Child’s Weight on Healthy Lifestyle Promoting Beliefs and Practices

1Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, The George Washington University, 950 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20052, USA
2Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Laney Graduate School, Emory University, 201 Dowman Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
3Department of Pediatrics, Emory School of Medicine, 1760 Haygood Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
4Child Wellness Department, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, 1577 NE Expressway, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA

Received 7 November 2014; Accepted 2 March 2015

Academic Editor: Aron Weller

Copyright © 2015 Allison C. Sylvetsky-Meni et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To evaluate parents’ beliefs and practices related to childhood obesity and determine if these are influenced by parent’s perception of their own weight or their child’s weight. Methods. Parents of obese () or normal weight () children 4–15 years in Georgia, USA, were randomly selected to complete a telephone survey. Frequency of child obesity-related perceptions, beliefs, and practices were assessed, stratified by parent-perceived self-weight and child weight status, and compared using Chi-squared tests and multivariate logistic regression. Results. Most parents, regardless of perceived child weight, agreed that child overweight/obesity can cause serious illness (95%) but only one-half believed it was a problem in Georgia. Many (42.4%) failed to recognize obesity in their own children. More parents who perceived their child as overweight versus normal weight reported concern about their child’s diet and activity and indicated readiness for lifestyle change. Parents’ perception of their own weight had little additional impact. Conclusions. While awareness of child overweight as a modifiable health risk is high, many parents fail to recognize it in their own families and communities, reducing the likelihood of positive lifestyle change. Additional efforts to help parents understand their role in facilitating behavior change and to assist them in identifying at-risk children are required.