Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Counseling and Human Development

First Advisor

Jay Trenhaile


body image, body satisfaction, obesity, preschool, weight classification


Rates of childhood obesity have been rising consistently across the nation and internationally. As a result, interventionists have been working to develop ways to combat this and have focused on interventions involving caregivers. Previous research indicates caregivers experience challenges in identifying obesity among their own children, which leads to barriers in addressing and reducing rates of obesity as caregivers remain unaware of any problems. The current study explored caregivers’ ability to correctly assign their child to the appropriate weight category and whether their ability was impacted by caregivers’ own weight status. Further, it also explored caregivers’ level of body satisfaction with their children and if this was impacted by caregivers’ own weight status. Data was collected from 293 preschool aged children and their caregivers. Results indicate that caregivers were generally successful in classifying their children to the appropriate weight category when their child was within the normal weight range. In addition, caregivers’ ability to do so was impacted by their own weight status. Further, results also indicate most caregivers were satisfied with their children’s body size, and the odds of caregiver satisfaction with their child’s size are much lower in obese caregivers. The outcomes from the present study add more research into exploring parental body satisfaction with their children, as this appears to be a relatively unexplored area. It is likely that an increased understanding in this area will be crucial for understanding and developing interventions to assist in both decreasing childhood obesity and increasing rates of healthy self-concepts in children.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Body image in children.

Preschool children.

Obesity in children -- Psychological aspects.

Obesity in children -- Prevention.

Body weight.

Parent and child.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 24-31)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2016 Andrea Brown