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Objectives To examine (1) accuracy of maternal perceptions of toddler body size; (2) factors associated with accuracy of toddler body size; and (3) how maternal satisfaction relates to accuracy/toddler body size. Setting Low-income community sample from suburban Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)/urban pediatric clinics.
Participants Two hundred eighty-one mother-toddler dyads (toddlers: 54.1% male; mean age, 20.2 months; 70.8% African American; 8.5% underweight [ misperceptions could lead to inappropriate feeding behavior (ie, encouraging a healthy-weight child to eat more/less or to gain/lose weight).
Nearly a third of toddlers (29.2%) were considered overweight for this analysis, with 13.9% between the 85th and 95th percentile and 15.3% in more than the 95th percentile.The weight-for-length growth index was used (vs alternative growth indices, ie, body mass index [calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared] [BMI] for age or weight for age) to be consistent with TSS categories.Maternal height (in centimeters) was measured in triplicate using a Shorr measuring board.Satisfaction was determined by the mother's response to the question, “Which picture do you want your child to look like?” with the same silhouette chosen for both questions.
Mothers ranged in age from 18 to 46 years, 27.4% were married, most were overweight/obese (71.9%), and half were obese (50.2%).