Parent Perception of Healthy Infant and Toddler Growth

Laraway, Kelly A.; Birch, Leann L.; Shaffer, Michele L.; Paul, Ian M.
April 2010
Clinical Pediatrics;Apr2010, Vol. 49 Issue 4, p343
Academic Journal
We hypothesized that parents of infants prefer growth at higher percentiles and are averse to growth at lower percentiles. Of 279 participating parents, only 10% desired their child's weight to be in the lowest quartile. For children weighing in the lowest quartile, 57% of parents thought their child's weight was "too low." In contrast, 66% of parents whose child's weight was in the top quartile preferred their child weigh that much. When viewing hypothetical infant growth trajectories, 47% ranked a growth chart demonstrating growth along the 10th percentile for weight as "least healthy" of 6 growth patterns, and 29% chose charts showing an infant at the 90th percentile for weight at age 1 as "healthiest." In conclusion, parents are averse to growth at the bottom of the weight growth chart but are much less likely to feel negatively about growth at higher percentiles. This is troubling given the childhood obesity epidemic.


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