Maternal perception of weight status in first-born Australian toddlers aged 12–16 months – the NOURISH and SAIDI cohorts

Byrne, Rebecca, Magarey, Anthea, & Daniels, Lynne (2016) Maternal perception of weight status in first-born Australian toddlers aged 12–16 months – the NOURISH and SAIDI cohorts. Child: Care, Health and Development, 42(3), pp. 375-381.

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Abstract

Background

  • The preference amongst parents for heavier infants is in contrast to obesity prevention efforts worldwide. Parents are poor at identifying overweight in older children, but few studies have investigated maternal perception of weight status amongst toddlers and none in the Australian setting.

Methods

  • Mothers (n = 290) completed a self-administered questionnaire at child age 12–16 months, defining their child's weight status as underweight, normal weight, somewhat overweight or very overweight. Weight-for-length z-score was derived from measured weight and length, and children categorized as underweight, normal weight, at risk overweight or obese (WHO standards). Objective classification was compared with maternal perception of weight status. Mean weight-for-length z-score was compared across categories of maternal perception using one-way ANOVA. Multinomial logistic regression was used to determine child or maternal characteristics associated with inaccurate weight perception.

Results

  • Most children (83%) were perceived as normal weight. Twenty nine were described as underweight, although none were. Sixty-six children were at risk of overweight, but 57 of these perceived as normal weight. Of the 14 children who were overweight, only 4 were identified as somewhat overweight by their mother. Compared with mothers who could accurately classify their normal weight child, mothers who were older had higher odds of perceiving their normal weight child as underweight, while mothers with higher body mass index had slightly higher odds of describing their overweight/at risk child as normal weight.

Conclusion

  • The leaner but healthy weight toddler was perceived as underweight, while only the heaviest children were recognized as overweight. Mothers unable to accurately identify children at risk are unlikely to act to prevent further excess weight gain. Practitioners can lead a shift in attitudes towards weight in infants and young children, promoting routine growth monitoring and adequate but not rapid weight gain.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 94256
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: maternal perception, overweight, toddlers, underweight, weight perception
DOI: 10.1111/cch.12335
ISSN: 1365-2214
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NUTRITION AND DIETETICS (111100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PAEDIATRICS AND REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE (111400)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Funding:
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Copyright Statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Byrne, R., Magarey, A., and Daniels, L. (2016) Maternal perception of weight status in first-born Australian toddlers aged 12–16 months – the NOURISH and SAIDI cohorts. Child: Care, Health and Development [In Press], which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cch.12335. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Deposited On: 29 Mar 2016 00:42
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2016 05:27

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