Sex-Related Difference in the Association Between Child Neglect and the Accuracy of Body Weight Perception Among Chinese Primary Schoolchildren
journal contributionposted on 2021-11-23, 00:00 authored by H J Yu, X Liu, M W Liu, M Z Zhang, Miaobing ZhengMiaobing Zheng, Q Q He
Introduction: Body weight perception (BWP) directly determines weight management behaviors. Although child neglect is a well-established risk factor for managing body weight, little is known about its association with the accuracy of BWP. This study aimed to assess the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between child neglect and BWP accuracy in primary schoolchildren, and explore how these differ based on the sex of the child.Methods: The sample included 1,063 primary schoolchildren (557 boys and 506 girls, aged 8–10 years) from a two-wave observational study between 2018 and 2019 in Wuhan, China. Child neglect and BWP were investigated using self-administered questionnaires. The accuracy of BWP was defined by comparing the BWP and actual body weight, and it was categorized into three groups—consistent, underestimated, and overestimated. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was conducted with fitting child neglect as the independent variable and the accuracy of BWP as the dependent variable.Results: The prevalence of weight misperception was ~44% at baseline (underestimation 40%; overestimation 4%) in Chinese primary schoolchildren. In the cross-sectional analysis, children with a higher level of neglect were more likely to misperceive their body weight. Moreover, there was an apparent sex-related difference that boys who experienced a higher level of neglect significantly reported more underestimation, while girls reported more overestimation. There was no significant longitudinal association between child neglect and the change in BWP accuracy.Conclusions: This study revealed that a higher level of neglect was significantly associated with underestimated BWP in boys and overestimated BWP in girls. The mechanisms of sex-related difference and whether child neglect is involved in the change in BWP, merit further investigations.