Weight and health status of inner city African American children: Perceptions of children and their parents

Body Image. 2006 Sep;3(3):289-93. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2006.05.005. Epub 2006 Jul 7.


Poor socioeconomic status and African American (AA) ethnicity contribute to an increased risk of obesity for many inner city children. One hundred and forty six AA children and 108 AA parents attending an inner city health fair completed surveys regarding perceptions of their own (or their child's) weight and the impact of weight on health. The children were measured and their body mass indexes were calculated. Thirty-seven percent of the child respondents (n=52) were at risk of overweight or overweight; of these, 67% perceived themselves as normal weight, and 77% thought their weight was healthy. Weighing more was felt to be healthy by 17% of children and 29% of parents. Of 39 parents whose children were at risk of overweight or overweight, 68% felt their child's weight was normal and 80% thought it was healthy. These results suggest that inner city AA children and their parents often do not recognize being overweight or the health implications of being overweight.