THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A CHILD’S BMI WITH PARENTAL FEEDING STYLE AND MATERNAL PERCEPTION TOWARDS CHILDHOOD OBESITY
Background: Prevalence of overweight and obesity are increasing among preschool children. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between a child’s body mass index (BMI) with maternal perception towards the child’s weight and type of parental feeding style.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted from June 2017 until November 2018 in kindergartens from Ipoh and Cheras. Self-administered validated questionnaires were distributed to parents. Data on child’s BMI, maternal perception to their child’s BMI, perception towards childhood obesity and parental feeding style were obtained and analysed using SPSS version 21.
Results: A total of 483 children were recruited. The prevalence of overweight children was 6.8% (BMI ≥ 85th to < 95th percentile) whereas the prevalence of obesity was 8.1% (BMI ≥ 95th percentile). When comparing the group of children with BMI ≥ 85th percentile (n= 72) to those with BMI<85th percentile (n= 411), we found that parents of overweight/obese children differed significantly in the accuracy of their judgment about their child’s weight. Only 12.5% in the former group accurately perceived their child’s weight compared to 76.9% in the latter group (p<0.01). Majority of parents (34%) in our community had indulgent feeding style, followed by authoritarian (31%), authoritative (18%) and uninvolved (16%). There was however no statistical significance in terms of parental feeding style in both groups of children.
Conclusion: A significant proportion of parents failed to recognise that their children were overweight. Public health programmes are thus required to raise parental awareness of childhood overweight and obesity.Keywords: childhood obesity, maternal perception, feeding style, BMI