Case Study: Maternal Perceptions of Weight Status

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[. . .] Almost 1/3 of mothers failed to classify overweight children as overweight

2. Girls at risk for being overweight were almost three times as likely to be classified by mom as overweight than were boys who were at risk.

3. Ethnic background did not predict misclassification rates

4. Younger children less likely to be classified as overweight (perhaps parents think younger children will grow out of it)

5. AS BMI for age Z score increased, overweight children less likely to be misclassified (As kids get fatter it is harder to lie-)

Questions you were asked regarding the statistics:

1. How were measures of central tendency and dispersion used?

Measures of central tendency and dispersion were used to convert the children's weight and height into BMI for age standard scores (Z scores). This allowed for the accurate classification of children as overweight, normal, or underweight (based on Z-score) in the analysis and maintained the variable as interval for use in regression analysis. The Z scores, which are standardized measures of dispersion, allow the convenient comparison of disparate measurements or variables with one another. The standard deviations in this data were used to calculate standard errors. Means and standard errors were also used to develop confidence intervals for the regression analysis results.

2. Were measures appropriate?

The mean is the most appropriate measure for the variables used as they are at least interval level variables. The standard error allows for great precision as it is a measure of dispersion like the standard deviation, but it tells us how the sample means are spread around the population mean (it is also useful in determining confidence intervals). The use of the standard error in this study is appropriate as it indicates that the current sample means are relatively good representations of the population means. Recall that the study is from a large population-based data set.

3. You are asked to compare data with the standard normal distribution, but the relevant data is converted to a standard normal distribution (BMI for age is converted to Z scores). Converting raw scores to scores on a standard normal distribution (converting to z scores) allows you to tell the position of any score in a distribution relative to the mean (positive z scores are above the mean, negative below) and also give you the ability to classify according to percentile rank. In addition, you can compare different scores from different variables when they are converted to z scores (for example you could compare one's weight to their IQ-that was not done here). In this study any child's status as obese, normal, or underweight can be determined by looking at their z-score. One issue that you might bring up is that we might not expect the weights of children to be normally distributed in the population and therefore z-scores may not adequately reflect the positions of children's weights or BMI's.

4. The study's conclusions are sound, given the data. You agree with them. We would expect that a significant proportion of mothers would fail to classify children as overweight, especially younger children. We would also agree that there is a point where you cannot deny that a child is overweight. One question you might have for the authors is given their data, where is that point? It would be helpful to know given the observations discussed from prior research. There is an interesting issue you can discuss if you like. The authors mention it briefly. You might want to mention it. The mothers were only asked if they thought that their child was under-over-or about the right weight. They were not asked if their child was at risk for being overweight or borderline. Therefore- a lot of the analysis concerning the misclassification of at risk children needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Parents were not asked if they thought that their child was borderline- so we really do not know how they perceived the weight of their at-risk children,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Case Study:

APA Format

Maternal Perceptions of Weight Status.  (2011, May 16).  Retrieved July 19, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Maternal Perceptions of Weight Status."  16 May 2011.  Web.  19 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Maternal Perceptions of Weight Status."  May 16, 2011.  Accessed July 19, 2019.