Parental Perceptions of and Concerns About Child's Body Weight in Eight European Countries: The IDEFICS Study

Susann Regber, Masuma Novak, Gabriele Eiben, Karin Bammann, Stefaan De Henauw, Juan M. Fernandez-Alvira, Wencke Gwozdz, Yiannis Kourides, Luis Alberto Moreno, Dénes Molnar, Iris Pigeot, Lucia Reisch, Paola Russo, Toomas Veidebaum, Ina K. Borup, Staffan Mårild

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    What is already known about this subject: Parents of children with overweight and obesity tend to underestimate their children's weight. Most studies show no association between parental education level and accurate parental perception of a child's weight category. Studies show no consistent relationship between parental weight perception and the child's gender.
    What this study adds: Parental underestimation of children's weight category for children in the overweight and obesity categories was found across eight European countries. Regional differences indicated a more accurate parental weight perception in Northern and Central Europe. A high proportion of parents in Southern Europe were concerned about future underweight or overweight in their children.
    Objectives: To evaluate parental perceptions of and concern about child's body weight and general health in children in a European cohort.
    Design: Cross-sectional multi-centre study in eight European countries.
    Participants: 16 220 children, ages 2–9 years.
    Methods: Parents completed a questionnaire regarding children's health and weight and concern about overweight and underweight. Objective children's weight categories from the International Obesity Task Force were used. Logistic regression models were utilized to identify predictors of accurate weight perception.
    Results: Parental weight perception corresponded overall to children's mean body mass index (BMI) z-scores, with important exceptions. About one-third of the total indicated concern about underweight, paradoxically most often parents of children in the overweight or obesity categories. In 63%, parents of children in the overweight category marked ‘proper weight’. The strongest predictor for accurate parental weight perception for children with overweight and obesity was BMI z-score (odds ratio [OR] = 7.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.1–8.7). Compared to Southern Europe, ORs for accurate parental weight perception were 4.4 (95% CI 3.3–6.0) in Northern Europe and 3.4 (95% CI 2.7–4.2) in Central Europe.
    Conclusion: Parents of children categorized as being overweight or obese systematically underestimated weight. Parents differed regionally regarding accurate weight perception and concern about overweight and underweight.
    What is already known about this subject: Parents of children with overweight and obesity tend to underestimate their children's weight. Most studies show no association between parental education level and accurate parental perception of a child's weight category. Studies show no consistent relationship between parental weight perception and the child's gender.
    What this study adds: Parental underestimation of children's weight category for children in the overweight and obesity categories was found across eight European countries. Regional differences indicated a more accurate parental weight perception in Northern and Central Europe. A high proportion of parents in Southern Europe were concerned about future underweight or overweight in their children.
    Objectives: To evaluate parental perceptions of and concern about child's body weight and general health in children in a European cohort.
    Design: Cross-sectional multi-centre study in eight European countries.
    Participants: 16 220 children, ages 2–9 years.
    Methods: Parents completed a questionnaire regarding children's health and weight and concern about overweight and underweight. Objective children's weight categories from the International Obesity Task Force were used. Logistic regression models were utilized to identify predictors of accurate weight perception.
    Results: Parental weight perception corresponded overall to children's mean body mass index (BMI) z-scores, with important exceptions. About one-third of the total indicated concern about underweight, paradoxically most often parents of children in the overweight or obesity categories. In 63%, parents of children in the overweight category marked ‘proper weight’. The strongest predictor for accurate parental weight perception for children with overweight and obesity was BMI z-score (odds ratio [OR] = 7.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.1–8.7). Compared to Southern Europe, ORs for accurate parental weight perception were 4.4 (95% CI 3.3–6.0) in Northern Europe and 3.4 (95% CI 2.7–4.2) in Central Europe.
    Conclusion: Parents of children categorized as being overweight or obese systematically underestimated weight. Parents differed regionally regarding accurate weight perception and concern about overweight and underweight.
    LanguageEnglish
    JournalPediatric Obesity
    Volume8
    Issue number2
    Pages118–129
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Apr 2013

    Keywords

    • Cohort of European Children
    • Obesity
    • Parent
    • Weight Concern
    • Weight Perception

    Cite this

    Regber, S., Novak, M., Eiben, G., Bammann, K., De Henauw, S., Fernandez-Alvira, J. M., ... Mårild, S. (2013). Parental Perceptions of and Concerns About Child's Body Weight in Eight European Countries: The IDEFICS Study. Pediatric Obesity, 8(2), 118–129. DOI: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00093.x
    Regber, Susann ; Novak, Masuma ; Eiben, Gabriele ; Bammann, Karin ; De Henauw, Stefaan ; Fernandez-Alvira, Juan M. ; Gwozdz, Wencke ; Kourides, Yiannis ; Moreno, Luis Alberto ; Molnar, Dénes ; Pigeot, Iris ; Reisch, Lucia ; Russo, Paola ; Veidebaum, Toomas ; Borup, Ina K. ; Mårild, Staffan. / Parental Perceptions of and Concerns About Child's Body Weight in Eight European Countries : The IDEFICS Study. In: Pediatric Obesity. 2013 ; Vol. 8, No. 2. pp. 118–129
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    abstract = "What is already known about this subject: Parents of children with overweight and obesity tend to underestimate their children's weight. Most studies show no association between parental education level and accurate parental perception of a child's weight category. Studies show no consistent relationship between parental weight perception and the child's gender.What this study adds: Parental underestimation of children's weight category for children in the overweight and obesity categories was found across eight European countries. Regional differences indicated a more accurate parental weight perception in Northern and Central Europe. A high proportion of parents in Southern Europe were concerned about future underweight or overweight in their children.Objectives: To evaluate parental perceptions of and concern about child's body weight and general health in children in a European cohort.Design: Cross-sectional multi-centre study in eight European countries.Participants: 16 220 children, ages 2–9 years.Methods: Parents completed a questionnaire regarding children's health and weight and concern about overweight and underweight. Objective children's weight categories from the International Obesity Task Force were used. Logistic regression models were utilized to identify predictors of accurate weight perception.Results: Parental weight perception corresponded overall to children's mean body mass index (BMI) z-scores, with important exceptions. About one-third of the total indicated concern about underweight, paradoxically most often parents of children in the overweight or obesity categories. In 63{\%}, parents of children in the overweight category marked ‘proper weight’. The strongest predictor for accurate parental weight perception for children with overweight and obesity was BMI z-score (odds ratio [OR] = 7.2, 95{\%} confidence interval [CI] 6.1–8.7). Compared to Southern Europe, ORs for accurate parental weight perception were 4.4 (95{\%} CI 3.3–6.0) in Northern Europe and 3.4 (95{\%} CI 2.7–4.2) in Central Europe.Conclusion: Parents of children categorized as being overweight or obese systematically underestimated weight. Parents differed regionally regarding accurate weight perception and concern about overweight and underweight.",
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    author = "Susann Regber and Masuma Novak and Gabriele Eiben and Karin Bammann and {De Henauw}, Stefaan and Fernandez-Alvira, {Juan M.} and Wencke Gwozdz and Yiannis Kourides and Moreno, {Luis Alberto} and D{\'e}nes Molnar and Iris Pigeot and Lucia Reisch and Paola Russo and Toomas Veidebaum and Borup, {Ina K.} and Staffan M{\aa}rild",
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    Regber, S, Novak, M, Eiben, G, Bammann, K, De Henauw, S, Fernandez-Alvira, JM, Gwozdz, W, Kourides, Y, Moreno, LA, Molnar, D, Pigeot, I, Reisch, L, Russo, P, Veidebaum, T, Borup, IK & Mårild, S 2013, 'Parental Perceptions of and Concerns About Child's Body Weight in Eight European Countries: The IDEFICS Study' Pediatric Obesity, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 118–129. DOI: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00093.x

    Parental Perceptions of and Concerns About Child's Body Weight in Eight European Countries : The IDEFICS Study. / Regber, Susann; Novak, Masuma; Eiben, Gabriele; Bammann, Karin; De Henauw, Stefaan; Fernandez-Alvira, Juan M.; Gwozdz, Wencke; Kourides, Yiannis; Moreno, Luis Alberto; Molnar, Dénes; Pigeot, Iris; Reisch, Lucia; Russo, Paola; Veidebaum, Toomas; Borup, Ina K.; Mårild, Staffan.

    In: Pediatric Obesity, Vol. 8, No. 2, 04.2013, p. 118–129.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    AU - Gwozdz,Wencke

    AU - Kourides,Yiannis

    AU - Moreno,Luis Alberto

    AU - Molnar,Dénes

    AU - Pigeot,Iris

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    N2 - What is already known about this subject: Parents of children with overweight and obesity tend to underestimate their children's weight. Most studies show no association between parental education level and accurate parental perception of a child's weight category. Studies show no consistent relationship between parental weight perception and the child's gender.What this study adds: Parental underestimation of children's weight category for children in the overweight and obesity categories was found across eight European countries. Regional differences indicated a more accurate parental weight perception in Northern and Central Europe. A high proportion of parents in Southern Europe were concerned about future underweight or overweight in their children.Objectives: To evaluate parental perceptions of and concern about child's body weight and general health in children in a European cohort.Design: Cross-sectional multi-centre study in eight European countries.Participants: 16 220 children, ages 2–9 years.Methods: Parents completed a questionnaire regarding children's health and weight and concern about overweight and underweight. Objective children's weight categories from the International Obesity Task Force were used. Logistic regression models were utilized to identify predictors of accurate weight perception.Results: Parental weight perception corresponded overall to children's mean body mass index (BMI) z-scores, with important exceptions. About one-third of the total indicated concern about underweight, paradoxically most often parents of children in the overweight or obesity categories. In 63%, parents of children in the overweight category marked ‘proper weight’. The strongest predictor for accurate parental weight perception for children with overweight and obesity was BMI z-score (odds ratio [OR] = 7.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.1–8.7). Compared to Southern Europe, ORs for accurate parental weight perception were 4.4 (95% CI 3.3–6.0) in Northern Europe and 3.4 (95% CI 2.7–4.2) in Central Europe.Conclusion: Parents of children categorized as being overweight or obese systematically underestimated weight. Parents differed regionally regarding accurate weight perception and concern about overweight and underweight.

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    Regber S, Novak M, Eiben G, Bammann K, De Henauw S, Fernandez-Alvira JM et al. Parental Perceptions of and Concerns About Child's Body Weight in Eight European Countries: The IDEFICS Study. Pediatric Obesity. 2013 Apr;8(2):118–129. Available from, DOI: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00093.x