Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Weight perceptions among children and parents take 2

A new study out of the University of Melbourne came out about parents' and children's views of their weight. This type of study isn't new ( read another here) except for the fact that this study looks at both notions of underweight and overweight children as well as measuring waist circumference versus body mass index as a sole indicator. It turns out, with BMI, children were classified overweight more often than waist circumference.

Although this study does emphasize weight and numbers, the results show how skewed the perceptions are of parents and their children's weight. You can read more information on the results here.

The ones I find most interesting are:

Parents were more likely to report that their sons were underweight and that their girls were overweight.
Twice as many parents expressed concern about their child being overweight compared to underweight.
Only 4/10 underweight girls and half of underweight boys correctly assessed their weight.

The overall results of the study show the bias towards thinness as well as the lack of research and definition for children's weights. Dr. Schmidt, the author of this study concluded with, "In particular we need to make sure that the focus on reducing the number of overweight children does not have the adverse impact of increasing the number of underweight children." I think this is something to strongly think about with our society's emphasis on weight and being "healthier."

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