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Parents' perception of toddlers' nutritional state

02 December 2022
Volume 3 · Issue 6



Parents' perception of children's body image may assume an important role in children's development.


to assess parental perception on toddlers' nutritional status.


Study conducted with toddlers' parents who attended nurseries in the district of Viseu, Portugal. Data collection instruments: a survey which included questions for social and demographic characterisation and the ‘Toddler Silhouette Scale’.


Most parents have considered that the children's silhouette, ideal (98.4%) and real (95.8%), corresponded to the one regarding normal weight. 21.1% of the children seen by the parents as having a normal weight, had in fact excess weight, 9% suffered from obesity and 0.5% were underweight.


The results suggest the existence of an inaccurate parental perception about their children's weight, reinforcing the importance of nurses who inform parents about their children's nutritional status and guide them to adopt healthy lifestyles.

Body image has been a focus of interest among societies and scientific communities through the ages, and during the first decade of this century there has been an increase in the number of studies on the subject (Cash and Smolak, 2012). Body image is not just the construction of an individual perception, but also a reflection of the interactions with others (Schilder, 1950).

In toddlers (children between 12 and 36 months), due to their age, the concern with body image is mainly reserved to their parents. The ideal they have about the child's weight and body shape may be influenced by family, society, culture and the child's gender, among other aspects. Cultural prejudice favours thinness and is against excess weight. For the feminine gender, the ideal is a thin body, while for the masculine it is a thin and slightly muscled body. A deviation from this ideal may imply negative social consequences (Grogan, 2017).

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