Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

Committee Chair

Jennifer C Barnes


AbstractPurpose: The current study seeks to evaluate factors that are related to parental perception from parents who have children between the ages of 2-12 years old. Data was collected on parental perception of their child’s weight status, activity level, and sedentary level based on screen time to assess if these factors are associated with increased child BMI. Methods: Parents with children were invited to participate in a Qualtrics survey that was distributed via email, parental Facebook groups, and social media platforms. Inclusion criteria included being a parent of a child between the ages of 2 and 12 years old. One-way ANOVA was utilized to answer whether child’s true BMI, screen time, and physical activity varied by parents’ perceptions of child weight status. Furthermore, multiple linear regressions were used to determine if a linear relationship exists between parental perception on their child’s weight status, activity level, and screen time to the child’s true weight status. Results: There was a significant effect of parental weight perceptions on child BMI, screen time, and physical activity at the p≤0.05 level. A Tukey post-hoc revealed that parents who perceived their children as overweight, their children had more screen time than those whose parents perceived their children as about the right weight (p<.001). Additionally, there was a significant effect of physical activity on parental perception of child weight at the p≤0.05 level. A Tukey post-hoc test revealed the mean amount of physical activity in hours per week of the Overweight group (mean = 4.72)) was significantly lower than those of the About the Right Weight group (mean = 5.87). Conclusion: This current study shows how lifestyle factors and parental perceptions of their child’s weight may be inaccurate based on calculated BMI. These results suggest that parents must accurately recognize overweight and obesity among their children for the implementation of obesity prevention interventions. KEYWORDS: Childhood, Obesity, Perception, Overweight, BMI.


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