PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify the association of parents' weight and attitude about their child's weight with the child's body mass index (BMI) status.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional, clinic-based study in a practice-based research network.
METHODS: One hundred seventy-one parents or adults accompanying children aged 5 to 17 years to a primary care visit in 4 family medicine centers completed a questionnaire. Parent/adult overweight status and attitudes were compared with child overweight status.
RESULTS: Forty-eight percent of children were overweight or obese (BMI >or= the 85th percentile) as were 56% of mothers and 77% of fathers (BMI >or= 25 kg/m(2)). Child and parent overweight were significantly associated, as were mother overweight and beliefs about child overweight status. Children aged 5 to 13 years were more likely to be overweight than those aged >or=14 years.
CONCLUSIONS: Parents of overweight children are often overweight and many do not recognize that their children are overweight. Suggestions are made for primary care physicians to engage parents of overweight children in family weight control efforts.
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