Objective: This study aimed to compare how children with overweight or obesity and their parents perceive the obesity-related terms used by healthcare professionals and investigate the factors associated with these perceptions. Methods: Children and adolescents aged 8–16 years with overweight or obesity (n = 192) and their parents participated in the cross-sectional study by responding to a 5-point Likert-scale questionnaire on 10 obesity-related terms, including “chubby,” “weight problem,” “weight,” “overweight,” “BMI,” “obese,” “heavy,” “fleshy,” “fat,” and “severely obese.” Results: For both children and parents, “chubby” was the most desirable term (mean ± standard deviation: 3.50 ± 1.12 and 2.95 ± 0.83, respectively), and “severely obese” was the least acceptable term (2.83 ± 1.17 and 2.02 ± 1.02, respectively). Although the parents preferred all the terms less than the children did (p < 0.001), “weight problem” was considered most motivating for a child to lose weight (3.93 ± 0.94). Among children, older age and a larger self-perceived body size were associated with a more positive response towards obesity-related terms, whereas having internalized or externalized problems were negatively associated with these terms. Parents with a history of cardiovascular disease considered “severely obese” (β = −0.419, [95% CI: −0.739, −0.099]) and “fat” (β = −0.457, [95% CI: −0.750, −0.164]) less desirable. Conclusions: Children and adolescents had a higher preference for obesity-related terms than their parents and preferred that healthcare professionals use euphemistic terms such as “chubby,” or neutral terms such as “weight problem.” Children with larger self-perceived body sizes or older age had a higher preference for obesity-related words. The terms used by healthcare professionals to describe excess weight must be motivating and respectful for all family members participating in the treatment.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Obesity Research and Clinical Practice|
|Publication status||Published - 2022 Sept 1|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency [grant number: 2019ER6401 ].
© 2022 Asia Oceania Association for the Study of Obesity
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics