Date of Graduation
School of Nursing
Cynthia Armstrong Persily
Obesity rates have continued to accelerate in the pediatric population. The accompanying co-morbidities of obesity have been recognized, yet the long term complications are not fully understood. The Health Belief Model is utilized in this study to evaluate parental perception of their child's weight status, related demographic factors, and food provision and consumption patterns associated with parental perception.;The purpose of this cross-sectional descriptive study was to examine the accuracy of parental perception of their child's weight status and to describe characteristics of those who accurately and inaccurately perceive their child's weight status. Chi-square analysis was used to determine relationships between parental perception of their child's weight status and the child's actual weight status. Relationships between parental perception of their child's weight status and demographic factors, as well as parental weight status, were also explored. Binary logistic regression was used to identify demographic predictors of parental accuracy of their child's weight status.;This study utilized data from the CARDIAC project which spanned from 2006-2009. Three cohorts of children from kindergarten (n= 957), second grade (n= 608), and fifth grade (n= 304) were evaluated from 16 counties in West Virginia. In addition, responses from an accompanying questionnaire were linked to the demographic and anthropometric data.;Parents of children in each cohort had a high level of accuracy in perceiving their child's weight status. Of the cohorts, parents of children in the fifth grade had the lowest accuracy in perceiving their child's weight status. Overall, parents were the least accurate in perceiving their child's weight status when the child was in the obese BMI category. More accurate parental perception was found in females than males in regard to their child's weight status.;Results indicate that parents in this study have a higher level of accurate parental perception of their child's weight status than in previous studies. Modifying factors were not a significant influence on accurate parental perception, nor did it impact the perceived threat of the child's BMI status. Without measurement of perceived threat, accurate parental perception of the child's weight status cannot be considered equivalent to perceived threat of the illness. Therefore, likelihood of action cannot be determined from this study. The Health Belief Model (HBM) was not helpful in this population with this particular problem. Likelihood of change in the food provision and consumption patterns depends on accurate perception of the problem and how the problem impacts their child. Recommendations for future studies include evaluating a broader, more ethnically diverse population. Additional studies should include the impact of perceived threat of illness.
Cochran, Jill, "Parental Perception of Their Child's Weight Status and Food Provision and Consumption Patterns in Appalachia" (2011). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 4707.