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Pediatría (Asunción)

On-line version ISSN 1683-9803


CABRERA ROJAS, Natalia et al. Comparison of Maternal Perception and Real Nutritional Status of Preschool Children Seen at a General Pediatric Facility. Pediatr. (Asunción) [online]. 2013, vol.40, n.3, pp.235-240. ISSN 1683-9803.

Introduction: Body image can influence eating habits. In all cultures, preschool children are started on adult foods, making this a key age for influencing eating habits and patterns of physical activity in children. Objective: To determine the level of agreement between maternal perception of the nutritional status of their preschool children and the real nutritional status of those children. Materials and Methods: We performed a descriptive cross-sectional study using an analog visual survey on randomly chosen mothers and preschool children seen for general checkups during July of 2010 at the outpatient pediatric departments of the National University of Asunción’s Hospital de Clínicas. Results: Of the children seen, 6.2% showed malnutrition, 59.3% were normal, 23% overweight, and 11.5% (n: 13) were obese; of these 13, none were seen as obese by their mothers, and no mother indicated a desire that the child be obese. Of the children who were overweight or obese (34.5%), only 9 mothers correctly perceived their status, a finding which supports the hypothesis that being overweight/obese seem like normal patterns to these mothers. An ‘anorexoid’ phenomenon was also observed in the perception of some mothers, with 3 mothers perceiving their normal-weight children as overweight. Conclusion: We observed agreement between the mother's perception of their child's nutritional status and the child's real nutritional status.

Keywords : Nutritional status; weight perception; preschool children.

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