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

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

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Soong Eui Women's College, Seoul 100-751, Korea. awha@sewc.ac.kr

Abstract

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.

Keyword

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