Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Children's Preferences and Self-Perceptions of Weight in a Rural Hispanic Community. Academic Article uri icon


  • Although studies have documented parents' misperceptions regarding their children's weight, studies examining preadolescent children's self-perceptions of weight-in particular, Hispanic children's self-perceptions of weight-are limited.A convenience sample of 424 children from a rural community, aged 8 to 11 years and in grades 3 through 5, participated in this cross-sectional, descriptive, nonexperimental study. Using the Children's Body Image Scale, the children were asked to select a figure representing their actual body perception and a figure representing their ideal body perception. The children were weighed and measured, body mass index (BMI) was calculated, and each child was assigned to one of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weight categories: underweight, normal or healthy weight, overweight, or obese.Only BMI category was found to be significantly associated with accurate perception, χ2(3) = 201.4, p < .001, with only 9% of overweight or obese children selecting figures representing their actual BMI category. Actual BMI category, χ2(3) = 8.8, p = .032, and grade level, χ2(2) = 6.7, p = .036, had a significant association with selection of an underweight ideal. Overall, 32% of children selected an underweight figure as ideal.Prepubertal children who are either overweight or obese do not accurately perceive their weight status. Rather than focusing solely on weight reduction programs, emphasis should be placed on promoting healthy lifestyles and choices.Published by Elsevier Inc.

publication date

  • December 2016