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The Article: “Parental Perception of Child Weight: a Concept Analysis”

  • The article was published in March 2013 in the Journal of Advanced Nursing
  • The author is Nicole Mareno, PhD RN, Assistant Professor of Nursing at WellStar School of Nursing, Kennesaw State University, Georgia, USA
  • The concept selected is a parental perception of child weight
  • Personal reason for choosing the concept is an interest in childhood obesity topic
  • Child overweight affects 18,5% of children aged 2-19 in the US (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019)
  • The author’s reason for selection is that perception is studied but lacks a robust conceptual definition (Mareno, 2014)
  • They type of analysis used is a thematic approach for content analysis (Rodgers, 2000)
  • The purpose of the concept analysis is to define the parental perception of child weight
  • The aim is to propose theory of parental perception of child weight and
  • Another objective is to analyze antecedents, attributes, consequences of the concept

Concept Analysis Method

  • Rodgers’s evolutionary view of concept analysis was used to define parental perception conceptually
  • Rodgers’s evolutionary perspective helped to identify key attributes, antecedents, and consequences (Rodgers, 2000)
  • The summary of key variables was reflected in a preliminary explanatory theory of parental perception of child weight
  • Rodgers’s concept analysis method allowed to conduct a study of articles within the concept
  • The author also prepared data for future testing and refinement of the theory

Literature Review: All Uses of the Concept

  • The author searched for multiple nursing and social sciences databases from 2000 to 2012
  • The author used the following search words: “perceptions, awareness, discrimination, recognition, parent, weight, child, overweight and obesity” (Mareno, 2014, p. 36)
  • Several databases were used: CINAHL, Academic Search Complete, Science Direct, ProQuest, PsychINFO, Medline and SocINDEX
  • The following inclusion criteria were identified: “English language only; scholarly/peer-reviewed literature from nursing, social and allied health sciences disciplines; independent research studies; and studies of parental perception of child/adolescent weight (ages 2–19 years)” (Mareno, 2014, p. 36)
  • The author has chosen the cross-referenced lists to remove duplicate entries
  • The author reviewed each article’s abstract to determine research studies and received 58 articles
  • Attributes, antecedent occurrences, and consequences of the concept’s utilization were found

Defining the Concept

  • Parental perception of child weight was conceptually defined as a parent’s judgment of their child’s body weight formulated by a parent’s recognition of five attributes
  • Five key attributes of the parental perception are
    • recognition of body size;
    • recognition of physical appearance;
    • recognition of functional abilities;
    • recognition of psychosocial effects; and
    • recognition of health effects related to current body weight (Mareno, 2014)

Cases or Examples

  • Rodger’s evolutionary view presents systematization of research studies with a focus on clear-defined phases during the analysis process
  • The method helped the author to determine the inclusion criteria of research studies
  • Based on five key attributes, a table with themes and references was created to synthesize research information
  • Themes on related characteristics included a rating of the child’s health, CDC guidelines, World Health Organization body mass index classification, etc.
  • Further in-depth topics were identified related to the child’s physical appearance, abilities, and health effects
  • The examples include “the child is larger than their peers,” “the child is more sedentary or physically slower than other children” (Mareno, 2014, p. 37)
  • Among effects were named negative health consequences and signs of positive health (Mareno, 2014, p. 38)


  • Five antecedents were found: parental beliefs and values about body weight, fatalism, societal normalization of overweight, parental weight status, and parental mental health status
  • The author assumed that antecedents influence a parent’s perception of their child’s weight


  • The main consequence of parental perception of child weight is healthy weight status for the child
  • Four specific outcomes identified: concern, increased knowledge (about health risks related to childhood overweight), motivation to make changes, and family lifestyle changes (Mareno, 2014)
  • Parental anxiety, nervousness, or worry regarding their child’s weight status were named as consequences
  • Possible eating disorder and other adverse outcomes in children were also mentioned

Empirical Referents

  • The empirical referents are the same as the defining characteristics of the concept
  • Recognition of body size, physical appearance, functional abilities, recognition of psychosocial effects and health effects related to current bodyweight factors were used to narrow the parental perception concept

Lessons Learned

  • The purpose of analysis helped to define the parental perception of child weight conceptually
  • Attributes helped to understand the parental view on their children clearly
  • Realizing that antecedent factors influence judgments on the child’s weight
  • Antecedent factors might include parental opinions about body weight, societal normalization of obesity, parental weight status, and mental health status
  • Understanding that healthy weight status for the child is dependent on parent’s attention
  • From the practice side, acquiring knowledge that perception of weight is filtered through sociocultural lenses
  • Acknowledging that healthcare providers should assess the parental perception of child weight
  • To evaluate parental understanding about child weight, open-ended questions should be used
  • Management of child weight concerns should be based on sociocultural views about ideal child body weight


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Childhood obesity facts.

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Mareno, N. (2014). Parental perception of child weight: a concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(1), 34–45.

Rodgers, B.L. (2000). Concept analysis: an evolutionary view. In Concept Development in Nursing: Foundations, Techniques and Applications (2nd ed.) (Rodgers B.L. & Knafl K.A., eds). Saunders.

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