Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Yale University School of Nursing

First Advisor

Robin Whittemore


Objectives: This cross-sectional, quantitative study was designed to describe the prevalence of overweight and obesity in a sample of schoolchildren (age 9-11 years) in central southern China. It also described parental attitudes about childhood overweight, physical activity, and eating patterns. In addition, this study described parental perception of and concern about their child's weight status.

Methods: This study was conducted in June 2011 at three elementary schools located in Wangcheng District, a suburb of Changsha, the capital city of Hunan Province. Child anthropometric data were collected, after which surveys were distributed to be brought home for completion by parents/caregivers.

Results: Anthropometric data from 164 children were included, along with data from 152 surveys completed by parents (response rate of 93%). Forty-eight percent of the children were male, and 52% were female, with a mean age of 9.93 years. Based on BMI-for-age, 13% of children were classified as very underweight or underweight, 77% were of normal weight, and 10% overweight or obese.

Conclusions: Parents of overweight or obese children had a higher correlation between their perception of child weight status than did parents of children who were normal or underweight. There was no significant association between level of parental concern and the child's BMI category. Further research must focus on the influence of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds on parental perception of child weight status in China and other developing nations.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access