Parental Perceptions of Weight Status in Preterm Compared with Term Infants.
Background Parents of overweight children frequently under-recognize their child's overweight status. We hypothesized that parents of preterm children would be more likely than parents of term children to incorrectly perceive their child's weight. Methods We recruited parents of term and preterm when children were 2 months to 2 years of age. Small for gestational age infants were excluded. We compared parents' perceived weight category with child's actual weight category, based on normative data (underweight, normal weight, or overweight). We based analyses on encounters and adjusted for within-child clustering across repeated measures. Results In the preterm (n = 94) and term (n = 1,263) cohorts, 12 and 13% of children, respectively, were overweight (weight-for-length ≥ 95th percentile). Among parents of overweight children, 91% in the preterm cohort and 90% in the term cohort reported their child as healthy weight. Among healthy weight children (weight-for-length 6th-94th percentile), parents in the preterm cohort were more likely to report their child as underweight compared with parents in the term cohort (24 vs. 7%; p < 0.001). Conclusion Parental perception of weight status was impaired among parents of overweight children regardless of gestational age. However, parents were more likely to perceive their healthy weight child as underweight if their child was preterm.
Murphy, LT; Skinner, AC; Check, J; Warner, DD; Perrin, EM
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