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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


BOA-SORTE, Ney et al. Maternal perceptions and self-perception of the nutritional status of children and adolescents from private schools. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2007, vol.83, n.4, pp.349-356. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE: To describe and compare maternal perception and the self-perception of children/adolescents of their nutritional status, identifying factors associated with incorrect perceptions. METHODS: Cross-sectional study carried out in Salvador, BA, Brazil with 1,741 students aged 6 to 19 years, classified according to body mass index (BMI) percentiles as underweight (BMI < p5), well-nourished (p5 ≤ BMI < p85), at risk of overweight (p85 ≤ BMI < p95) or overweight (BMI > p95). Students and their mothers answered questions on perception of weight, patterns of physical exercise and dieting. By means of multivariate analysis, factors associated with incorrect maternal and self- perceptions were analyzed. RESULTS: Self-perceptions were correct in 64.7% of cases and 75.3% of maternal perceptions were correct. The principal factor associated with incorrect self-perception was age between 6 and 9 years (OR = 1.59; 95%CI 1.15-2.20). Among girls, being overweight and practicing physical exercise were characteristics associated with better perception. For boys, the presence of overweight resulted in an increased risk of incorrect self-perception. Among mothers, having an overweight child (OR = 3.02; 95%CI 2.05-4.46) and a child aged from 6 to 9 years (OR = 1.88; 95%CI 1.28-2.76) were associated with incorrect perception. CONCLUSIONS: A failure to correctly perceive weight was very frequent among children and their mothers, especially when children were overweight. These factors could represent obstacles to correctly recognizing nutritional abnormalities.

Keywords : Body image; overweight; childhood obesity; physical activity; adolescent.

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