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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 85-90

Parental perception and knowledge about ideal weight among preschool-aged children in Abha city, southwestern Saudi Arabia


1 Department of Child Health, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2 Medical Student, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
3 Abha Maternity and Children Hospital, Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
4 South Dahran General Hospital, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
5 Tanuma General Hospital, Aseer Region, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
6 King Fahad Armed Forced Hospital, Khamis Mushait, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
7 Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Abdullah S Alqahtani
Department of Child Health, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, P.O. Box: 960, Abha 61421
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjo.sjo_18_17

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Background: Obesity among children is becoming a major health problem in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Little is known regarding parents’ perception about ideal weight among preschool children in Abha city, Saudi Arabia. Objectives: To assess parents’ perception regarding ideal weight for their preschool children and to evaluate their awareness about childhood obesity. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study targeted the parents of healthy children attending primary healthcare centers (PHCCs) in Abha city, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The study was conducted in five PHCCs. All parents who had a child aged 12–72 months were included. The parents were interviewed through a structured questionnaire. The questionnaire included 32 questions about demographic data, perception and knowledge about ideal weight, preferred weight for children, and child’s nutrition and lifestyle. Saudi body mass index chart was used to classify the children as ideal, overweight, or failure to thrive. Results: The study included 385 parents and their healthy children aged 12–70 months. The overall percentage of overweight children amounted to 8.6%. It was found that 57.6% of the parents of overweight children perceived the weight of their children to be ideal. On the other hand, 42.2% (141) of the parents of ideal weight children thought that the weight of their children was low, when it was ideal. However, 90.9% of the parents among the children with obesity and 85.5% of the parents among the children with ideal weight preferred their children to have ideal weight. The difference was not statically significant (P = 0.535). Among overweight children, 6.1% of their parents preferred their children to have an increase in their weight. Similarly, among ideal weight children, about 15.1% of the parents preferred an increase in their child’s weight. Conclusion: The majority of parents preferred their children to have ideal weight. There is a need to start a major campaign to educate parents regarding the ideal weight for children and obesity.


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