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Original Research

Linking parent perceptions of children’s weight to early coronary risk factors: results from the CARDIAC Project

Submitted: 25 June 2013
Revised: 2 October 2013
Accepted: 22 August 2013
Published: 21 March 2014

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Author(s) : Stabler ME, Cottrell L, Lilly C.

Citation: Stabler ME, Cottrell L, Lilly C.  Linking parent perceptions of children’s weight to early coronary risk factors: results from the CARDIAC Project. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2014; 14: 2719. Available: (Accessed 22 October 2017)


Introduction:  Obesity is a public health threat because of the increasing prevalence in childhood and its causal relationship to the leading cause of death in America, heart disease. Detecting early signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in children and appropriately intervening to reverse the unhealthy trajectory associated with childhood obesity is of great importance. The objective of this study is to observe parental perception of their child’s body mass index (BMI) and find associations between inaccurately estimated children and CVD risk factors.
Methods:  This study analyzed the association between 147 rural fifth grade students’ lipid profiles and parents’ self-reported survey who participated in the 2008–2011 Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Appalachian Communities study.
Results:  After controlling for covariates, underestimated children were more likely to have higher log-transformed triglyceride and systolic blood pressure values and overestimated children were more likely to have lower systolic blood pressure.
Conclusions:  Underestimating a child’s BMI is associated with coronary risk-related factors, while overestimating a child’s BMI is associate with a protective CVD marker. A follow-up study examining the development of CVD risk factors in children of parents who inaccurately estimate their BMI would help clarify this relationship. Knowledge of how parental perceptions directly influence higher lipid levels in children could have an impact on public health efforts in the fight against childhood obesity in rural environments.

Key words: BMI, cardiovascular disease, childhood obesity, family-centered intervention, parental misperceptions.

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