Differential Child Body Perception in Children Ages 7-12 and Parents in Relation to Exercise and Eating Behaviors
Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate child body perceptions in children aged 7-12 and that of their parents in relation to exercise and eating behaviors.
Methods: Parent and paired child participants completed separate questionnaires that included anthropometric, exercise and eating behavior, and somatotype questions to assess perceived current and perceived ideal body type.
Results: Children perceived their bodies was larger than their parents viewed their offspring’s bodies (p=0.022). Children’s perceived ideal body type was thinner than parents perceived ideal for their offspring (p=0.001). The discrepancy between children’s perceptions of their ideal and current body type was significantly larger than the discrepancy between parent’s perception of their offspring’s ideal and current body type (p=0.001). There was a positive correlation between body type discrepancy and faster eating pace (p=0.004) and an inverse correlation with family physical activity (PA) (p=0.017).
Conclusion: This study indicate significant body type discrepancy among children. Body weight, body mass index, faster eating pace and less family PA may be contributing factors, though further research is needed to examine other potential factors to contribute the body type discrepancy.