Peruvian Parents Perceptions of Children's Obesity

  • Kathleen M. Trejo Department of Health and Human Performance, College of Charleston
  • Mary Shaw-Ridley Department of Behavioral and Environmental Health, Jackson State University


Although parents are critical to childhood obesity prevention, little is known about Peruvian parents' perceptions regarding childhood obesity, a country undergoing an emerging obesity epidemic. The study assessed Peruvian parents' perceptions regarding their children's obesity risks and behaviors. The specific objectives were to: (a) assess the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of parents regarding nutrition and physical activity of their preschool-aged children, and (b) assess parents’ ability to recognize overweight status in their children. Methods: The cross-sectional study surveyed 202 parents of preschool children (Mean age= 49.4 months, SD = 8.5) in the peri-urban slum communities of Lima, Peru utilizing a modified version of the Behavior and Attitudes Questionnaire for Healthy Habits (BAQ-HH) questionnaire. Children's body mass index (BMI) was compared with parental descriptions of the child's weight. Results: Nearly half (41.3%) of children had exceeded healthy weight (defined as BMI- for-age Z- score >-2 and £1). Parents demonstrated high knowledge, positive behaviors, and concerned attitudes. Parental knowledge and attitude scores predicted parental behavior scores (p=0.004). More than half (56.6%) accurately perceived their child's weight. However, 90.4% of parents of overweight/obese children underestimated their weight. Conclusions: Understanding Peruvian parents' perceptions of their children's obesity risk is essential to planning comprehensive interventions.
How to Cite
Trejo, K. M., & Shaw-Ridley, M. (2020). Peruvian Parents Perceptions of Children’s Obesity. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 18(1), 17-28.