Mothers' perception of obesity in schoolchildren: A survey and the impact of an educational intervention

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Jornal de Pediatria, 2011, 87 (2), pp. 169 - 174
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Objectives: To investigate mothers' awareness of their children's weight problem, and to evaluate the impact of an educational intervention on improving mothers' recognition of obesity in their children. Methods: Twelve primary schools from Tehran, Iran, were randomly chosen. Obese children were selected, and 300 mothers participated in the study. A questionnaire was completed by the mothers, who were then randomly divided into two groups. One group received education on obesity, whereas the other group did not receive any intervention. After 2 months, the same questionnaire was completed by both groups. A multiple logistic regression was performed. Results: Mother's pre-existing knowledge on obesity, their education and occupation, as well as family income, had significant effects on mothers' accuracy in identifying obesity in their children. The educational intervention significantly improved mothers' ability to identify obesity in their children compared with those without any intervention (OR = 15.23; 95%CI 5.95-38.96). Conclusions: In Iran, a large proportion of mothers do not have general knowledge on healthy body weight for children, thus failing to recognize that their children are obese. Educational interventions could reduce the rate of such mistake and subsequently alter parental care. Copyright © 2011 by Sociedade Brasileira de Pediatria.
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