Objectives: We attempted to determine if mothers of overweight daughters accurately perceived the daughters' weight category and whether physician diagnosis of overweight was associated with accurate maternal perception of a daughter's weight.
Design: This was a cross-sectional study that used the Morehouse School of Medicine Obesity Health Belief Survey. Descriptive statistics were used with categorical variables; chi2 was used to identify associations between dichotomous and categorical data.
Setting: Participants were enrolled in the study at the West End Medical Centers Inc., a federally qualified health center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Results: Among overweight girls, 19% of mothers underestimated the girls' weight category, and 60% of the mothers underestimated the magnitude of their daughters' weight category (P < .001). Among the mothers of girls at risk for overweight, there was a statistically significant association between being told their daughter was overweight by a physician and an accurate perception of the daughter's weight category by the mother
Conclusion: Despite this national epidemic, not all of mothers of overweight girls identify them as overweight. Physicians may play an important role in helping mothers recognize overweight in their daughter. Ultimately, accurately perceiving their daughters' weight category may influence maternal readiness to change to reduce overweight and reduce the health burden of overweight.