Source of parental reports of child height and weight during phone interviews and influence on obesity prevalence estimates among children aged 3-17 years

Academic Article


  • Objective. We compared parental reports of children's height and weight when the values were estimated vs. parent-measured to determine how these reports influence the estimated prevalence of childhood obesity. Methods. In the 2007 and 2008 North Carolina Child Health Assessment and Monitoring Program surveys, parents reported height and weight for children aged 3-17 years. When parents reported the values were not measured (by doctor, school, or home), they were asked to measure their child and were later called back. We categorized body mass index status using standard CDC definitions, and we used Chi-square tests and the Stuart-Maxwell test of marginal homogeneity to examine reporting differences. Results. About 80% (n5509) of the 638 parents who reported an unmeasured height and/or weight participated in a callback and provided updated measures. Children originally classified as obese were subsequently classified as obese (67%), overweight (13%), and healthy weight (19%). An estimated 28% of younger children (<10 years of age) vs. 6% of older children (aged ≥10 years) were reclassified on callback. Having parents who guessed the height and weight of their children and then reported updated values did not significantly change the overall population estimates of obesity. Conclusion. Our findings demonstrate that using parent-reported height and weight values may be sufficient to provide reasonable estimates of obesity prevalence. Systematically asking the source of height and weight information may help improve how it is applied to research of the prevalence of childhood obesity when gold-standard measurements are not available. © 2013 Association of Schools of Public Health.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 6878448
  • Author List

  • Skinner AC; Miles D; Perrin EM; Coyne-Beasley T; Ford C
  • Start Page

  • 8
  • Volume

  • 128
  • Issue

  • 1