BACKGROUND: Worldwide the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children is escalating. Parents’ recognition of overweight or obesity in their own children is very important for a successful intervention in these children. This study examined parental perception of their children’s weight status, and its association with their knowledge on nutrition and obesity.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a cross sectional study of parents with children aged 9 to 12 years, in a primary school of Kuala Lumpur. Parents responded to a self-administered questionnaire which contains parental perception of their child weight status as well as knowledge on nutrition and obesity. The parents’ perception of the children’s weight status was then compared with the actual measured weight status.
RESULTS: There were 204 parents who participated in the study. Parents were found to underestimate their child weight status and 38.2% were inaccurate in their perception. The mean score of knowledge on nutrition and obesity was 78.5±14.4; and this did not associate with the accuracy of their perception on the child weight status. Parents showed inadequate knowledge in food pyramid and preparation of low fat meals.
CONCLUSION: The Malaysian Health Campaigns had resulted in overall good knowledge on nutrition and obesity in the parents except in few domains. However, this was insufficient to make the parents recognize the growing overweight and obesity problem in their children.
Key Words: overweight, obesity, children, parental perception, knowledge
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.