Objectives The study aims to investigate the prevalence of overweight and obesity of children and adolescents and the prevalence of self- and parental underestimation of weight status and its risk factors in rural Northern China.
Methods A cross-sectional sample of children and adolescents aged 5–18 years (n = 5109) and their parents were recruited in Northern Chinese Schools.
Results 15.2% of study subjects were overweight and 7.1% were obese. 26.3% and 11.1% of parents and children under-estimated child’s weight status, with especially higher prevalence in the overweight and obese children. Multivariate Logistic regression models had showed that male (OR: 2.127, 95%CI 1.735-2.6–9), age≤11 (OR: 2.039, 95%CI 1.645-2.528), child had overweight and obese parents (father: OR: 1.614, 95%CI 1.329-1.959, mother: OR: 1.301, 95%CI 1.019-1.662), the minority ethnicities (OR: 1.273, 95%CI 1.005–1.613) were significantly related to the prevalence of underestimated self-perceptions. Parental underestimated perceptions were also significantly related to child’s age, sex. Besides, parental education levels were significantly correlated to self- (OR: 0.769, 95%CI: 0.633-0.934) and parental (OR: 0.850, 95%CI: 0.738-0.979) underestimations.
Conclusions Paediatric overweight and obesity is highly prevalent in rural Northern China. The risk factors for underestimation were different among children/adolescents and parents. We should attempt to give equal weight to the adequate attentions to the harms of overweight, accurate self and parental estimations of overweight and proper measurements taken to deal with it.