Parental Perception of Child Weight: A Concept Analysis

Document Type


Publication Date



Aim: This article is a report of an analysis of the concept of parental perception of child weight.

Background: Perception is commonly studied, but lacks a strong conceptual definition. Concept analysis is important in providing a conceptual definition of parental perception of child weight.

Design: Rodgers's evolutionary view of concept analysis guided this enquiry.

Data sources: A search of multiple nursing and social sciences databases was undertaken, including CINAHL, Academic Search Complete, Science Direct, ProQuest, PsychINFO, Medline and SocINDEX.

Review methods: Data from 2000–2012 related to the concept of interest were reviewed. Fifty-eight articles meeting the inclusion criteria were included. Key attributes, antecedent occurrences and consequences of the concept's use were identified. Thematic analysis revealed common themes related to the concept attributes, antecedents and consequences.

Results: Five attributes were identified including: parental recognition of body size, physical appearance, functional abilities, psychosocial effects and health effects related to body weight. Antecedents of this concept are parental beliefs and values about body weight, fatalism, societal normalization of overweight, parental weight status and parental mental health status. The consequences of this concept are parental concern, increased knowledge about obesity-related health risks, motivation to make changes and family lifestyle changes. The ultimate goal is a healthy weight for the child.

Conclusions: A middle-range explanatory theory of parental perception of child weight was proposed. Parents who recognize child weight issues may be motivated to initiate lifestyle changes, resulting in a healthy weight for the child.