Parental awareness of childhood obesity: A quality improvement initiative
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The incidence of childhood obesity continues to rise, placing an increased risk of morbidity and mortality in adulthood. Over the years, the perceived “normal” weight increased causing a shift in parental misperceptions of their child’s actual weight (Hansen, Duncan, Tarasenko, Yan, & Zhang, 2014). Parental misperception of their child’s weight status is likely to lead to decreased motivation to address and change childhood obesity (Lundahl, Kidwell, & Nelson, 2014). Examination of parental perceptions can generate instructive information for addressing parental perceptions, increasing readiness to change, and managing the overweight and obese child. (Hansen et al., 2014). The goal of this quality improvement project was to assess parental perceptions of the overweight child and readiness to change behaviors. The project analysis revealed there remains a disproportionate number of parents who underestimate their child’s weight, as well as an association between parental perception of their child’s weight and readiness to change. This misperception is one that must be addressed to begin the process of treating and managing obesity. The results are intended to provide information to assist in increasing awareness of parents’ perceptions of their overweight child’s weight status as a starting point to the next steps towards implementing an obesity prevention and management plan.