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Parent Underestimation of Child Weight Status and Attitudes towards BMI Screening.

  • Author(s): Linchey, Jennifer K
  • King, Benjamin
  • Thompson, Hannah R
  • Madsen, Kristine A
  • et al.


In this study, we identify predictors of parental underestimation of child weight status and support for school-based BMI screening and reporting.


Parents of 3rd through 7th grade students (N = 1002) participating in The Fit Study completed mailed surveys assessing parent race/ethnicity, weight status, perception of child weight status, and preference for BMI screening and reporting.


Only 33% and 6% of parents classified their overweight child as somewhat overweight and their obese child as very overweight, respectively. Support for BMI screening was stronger among Hispanic (OR = 2.3, p < .001), Asian (OR = 3.7, p < .001), and black (OR = 2.3, p = .04) parents than white parents and weaker among overweight versus normal-weight parents (OR = 0.6, p = .01). Compared to parents of 3rd grade students, parents of older children reported less support for BMI reporting (4th grade: OR = 0.4, p = .04; 6th grade: OR = 0.3, p = .02; 7th grade: OR = 0.3, p = .03).


Parent race/ethnicity, parent weight status, and child age are associated with support for BMI screening and reporting..

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