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PEDIATRIC NURSING/January-February 2021/Vol. 47/No. 1 23

C hildhood obesity has become a serious health issue in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Con –

trol and Prevention (CDC) (2019), roughly 18.5% of children are obese. The CDC (2019) also reports that obese children may begin to present signs of obesity and develop comor- bidities as early as preschool age. Studies have found that obese chil- dren are more likely to advance to chronic diseases, such as hyperten- sion, diabetes, depression, and joint problems, earlier in life than children who are not obese. Identifying deter- minants that contribute to obesity in children may guide health care providers in the prevention and con- trol of obesity (Alexander et al., 2015; Rune et al., 2015).

A significant association between parental influence and childhood obesity has been identified in the lit- erature (Hansen et al., 2014; Moore et al., 2012; Rune et al., 2015). In many circumstances, a child’s diet and physical activity were dependent on the discretion of the parent. Identifying parental perceptions and attitudes of childhood obesity can provide guidance in formulating evi- dence-based interventions to prevent and control childhood obesity (Abela et al., 2014).

Continuing Nursing Education

Assessing Parental Perceptions on Childhood Obesity: An Educational

Intervention Felicia Renales, Kelli Whitted, and Noreen Lennen

Felicia Renales, DNP, FNP-BC, is an Assistant Professor, Troy University, Phenix City, AL.

Kelli Whitted, DNP, FNP-BC, APRN-BC, is an Associate Professor, Troy University, Phenix City, AL.

Noreen Lennen, PhD, RN, is an Assistant Professor, Troy University, Phenix City, AL.

The correlation between a child’s weight and the parents’ perception of their child’s weight affected a child’s risk of becoming obese (White et al., 2016). Parents who displayed concern about their child’s weight were more likely to control environmental fac- tors, such as screen time and physical activity. Children were more success- ful and compliant with weight control when their parents were supportive and proactive in the practice of adopt- ing healthy habits (Alexander et al.,

2015; Black et al., 2015; Moore et al., 2012; Rune et al., 2015).PEDIATRIC NURSING/January-February

Evidence suggests that assessments related to parental knowledge and per- ception of their child’s weight status could decrease the risk of obesity by allowing the opportunity for providers to discuss weight concerns and ideas with parents. Assessment of parents’ perception of their child’s weight and education from a health care provider has been successful in preventing obe- sity in children and identifying those

Renales, F., Whitted, K., & Lennen, N. (2021). Assessing parental perceptions on childhood obesity: An educational intervention. Pediatric Nursing, 47(1), 23- 29, 51.

Background: Parental influence on children’s health behaviors has been recog- nized as significantly impacting childhood obesity.PEDIATRIC NURSING/January-February

Objective: The objective of the study was to examine the impact of an education intervention on the perceptions and attitudes that parents of school-aged chil- dren displayed on childhood obesity.

Method: A random sample of 30 parents was recruited to complete a survey before and after reviewing an educational pamphlet on childhood obesity. The survey assessed parental perceptions, knowledge, and importance of obesity risk factors and obesity prevention strategies. The survey also addressed parental perceptions of their children’s weight status and their children’s environ- ment.

Results: The education intervention brought awareness that parental percep- tions and attitudes can influence children’s obesity risk factors. This measurable finding indicates that an educational pamphlet can serve as a valuable tool to