Parents' Perceptions of Their Children's Weight, Eating Habits, and Physical Activities at Home and at School

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Introduction: Parental perceptions of their young children's weight and habits may play an important role in determining whether children develop and maintain healthy lifestyles. This study was conducted to determine perceptions of parents of third-grade children in an urban school setting regarding their children's weight, eating habits, and physical activities. Methods: Parents anonymously completed surveys about their child's weight, eating habits, and daily activities. The survey also asked about how schools could encourage healthy eating and increased physical activity. Results: Overall, 26% of the parents perceived their child to be overweight and expressed concern, but 40% of these parents believed that overweight is a condition that will be outgrown. Parents who reported eating more than eight meals per week with their child were less likely to report their child as overweight and more likely to believe that their child's physical activity level was appropriate. Discussion: Most parents of third-grade students demonstrated concern regarding their child's weight and perceive obesity as a problem. Parents support school interventions such as nutrition education and fitness classes. © 2011 National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.



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