Master of Science (MS)


Human Ecology

Document Type



Overweight in children has become a major health concern. Research suggests that many parents may not be aware of their child’s actual weight status. The objectives of this study were to test the effectiveness of a body mass index (BMI)-for–age percentile report in raising parent awareness of their child’s weight status. Eighteen public elementary schools in southeast Louisiana were pair matched and divided into nine intervention and nine control schools. Children in the intervention and the control schools were divided into two groups 1) healthy weight (BMI ≥ 5th to <85th percentile) and 2) at risk and overweight (BMI ≥ 85th percentile). Forty children were randomly selected from each of the two weight groups from the intervention and the control schools. Parents of children in the intervention group received a BMI-for-age percentile health report along with a short questionnaire. Parents of children in control schools received the questionnaire only. Parents in the intervention group have 4.7 times more accurate perception about their child’s weight compared to the control group (OR: 4.7, 95% of CI: 0.89-24.86, p=0.00 ). After receiving the report, more parents of at risk or overweight children were concerned and only fewer parents of healthy weight children were anxious about their child’ weight. When parents were compared based on their child’s weight regardless whether they got the report, parents of at risk or overweight children were more than five times less likely to perceive the correct weight classification of their child (OR: 1.8, 95% of CI: 0.05-0.62, p=0.00) and less concerned about their child’s weight (OR: 0.98, 95% of CI: 0.32-2.93, p=0.00) when compared to parents of healthy weight children. All parents were willing to help their child follow healthy behaviors regard less of the report and their child’s weight status. A BMI-for-age percentile report appears to be an effective way to increase parent awareness and concern regarding their child’s weight status. With increased awareness, parents may be more likely to encourage their children to achieve a healthy weight.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Georgianna Tuuri



Included in

Human Ecology Commons