Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Martha Whetsell

Committee Members

Catherine Georges

Jacqueline Witter

Marianne Fahs

Judith Bennett-Murray

Subject Categories

Family Practice Nursing | Pediatric Nursing | Public Health and Community Nursing


Obesity in children, Mothers' perception of child body size, economic burden of obesity, BAI vs BMI as indicator for those at risk for obesity


Background: In the United States (U.S.), the Center for Disease Control (2011 – 2014) reported that one-third of adults and 17% of children between the ages of two and nineteen are obese. Obesity in the U.S. is higher in the African-American groups comprising 13.2 % of the U.S. population. With the link between obesity and chronic diseases, such as, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers there is a necessity to understand and reverse the consequences of obesity. There is a need to change the development of obesity/adiposity from childhood to adulthood in African-Americans. Exploring the parent’s awareness of the weight of their children is an important issue when considering cultural aspects of an individual and their perspectives.

Method: African-American mothers (N=15) volunteered their two to four year old children to be photographed and measured during ‘well’ child visits. These photographs and measurements were used by an artist to draw the silhouettes for the ‘Buckley Toddler Scale’ which was then tested for validity and reliability by one hundred and twenty experts.

Findings: The ‘Buckley Toddler Scale’ was a valid and reliable tool to measure an African-American mother’s perception of her child’s body size and as such, mothers were able to accurately describe in common terms: underweight, normal weight, and overweight.

Keywords: Obesity, adiposity, mother’s perception, culture, toddlers