Nutr Res Pract.  2007 Dec;1(4):321-327.

Do mother's interests in weight control influence preschoolers' obesity and weight related concerns?

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Soong Eui Women's College, Seoul 100-751, Korea.


The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between the mother's interest in weight control and its association with the preschooler's obesity and weight related concerns. This was a cross-sectional study based on 470 parents' self-reports. To score interests in weight control, mothers rated each of 6 items on a five-point Likert scale ranging from disagree (1) to agree (5). The perceptions of mothers' weights and their children's weights, mothers' Body Mass Index (BMI), preschoolers' Weight-Length Index (WLI) (%), and weight-related concerns were determined. The mothers' BMI was significantly correlated with interest scores of weight control in mothers (r=0.632, p<0.001) while their children's obesity was weakly correlated with the mothers' interest scores (r=0.133, p=0.025). Mothers with a high interest of weight control reported higher percentages of family history of obesity than mothers with lower interests (63.2% vs. 36.8%, p<0.001). Two-thirds of the mothers (65.4%) were accurate in their perceptions about their weights. Similarly, 63.7% of mothers knew exactly their children's weight-statuses. Compared with mothers with low interest in weight controls, mothers with high interest in weight control had lower correct-perceptions about their weights (p<0.05) but higher correct-perceptions about their children's weights. More than two-thirds of mothers (85%) reported not worrying about their children's obesity in the future. Only 14.3% of the mothers were satisfied with their current weight statuses. Three-fourths of mothers preferred exercise as an effective weight-control method for their children, 20% preferred diet therapy and 5.5% preferred behavior modification. More girls were overweight / obese, than boys (overweight: 16.1% (girl) vs. 12.8% (boy), obese: 5.4% (girl) vs. 4.5% (boy)). About 40% of overweight girls' mothers had low interests in their weight controls with low correct-perceptions in their children's weights, which suggests possible elevated risk of obesity, especially in girls, in the future.


Interests in weight control; preschooler; WLI obesity index; Body mass index(BMI); obesity
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