Objective: To examine the relationship between parents' underestimation of their child's weight status and concerns about their child's weight and health.
Methods: We conducted interviews with parents in an urban pediatric clinic (January through June 2006). Children's height and weight were measured at the visit using standard techniques.
Results: 193 children were included (response rate 87%, 18 months-9 years, 70% black); 31% of parents underestimated their child's weight status (46% of overweight children, 24% of normal weight). Parents of normal-weight children who underestimated were more likely to be concerned about their child's weight (39% vs 2.9%, P < .001) than those who did not underestimate. Parents of overweight children who underestimated were less likely to be concerned about their child's weight (7.7% vs 59%, P < .001) than those who recognized their children as overweight.
Conclusions: Many parents continue to underestimate their child's weight status. These perceptions may present a barrier to the prevention of childhood obesity.