Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 441–447 | Cite as

Parent Perceptions of Child Weight Status in Mexican-Origin Immigrant Families: An Investigation of Acculturation, Stress, and Coping Factors

  • Dorothy L. McLeod
  • Carolyn R. Bates
  • Amy M. Heard
  • Amy M. Bohnert
  • Catherine DeCarlo Santiago
Original Paper


Parents often underestimate their child’s weight status, particularly when the child is overweight or obese. This study examined acculturation, stress, coping, and involuntary responses to stress and their relation to estimation of child’s weight status among Mexican-origin immigrant families. Eighty-six families provided data on child’s height and weight, caregiver’s perception of their child’s weight status, and caregiver’s responses to acculturation, stress, and coping scales. Parents underestimated their child’s weight status, particularly when the child was overweight or obese. Although acculturation and stress were not associated with accuracy, parents’ responses to stress were linked to parent perceptions. Parents who reported more frequent use of involuntary engagement (e.g., rumination, physiological arousal) were more accurate. Future research, as well as healthcare providers, should consider how parents manage and respond to stress in order to fully understand the factors that explain weight perceptions among Mexican-origin immigrant parents.


Obesity Mexican–American Coping Stress Acculturation 



This study was funded by the Foundation for Child Development (Grant Number: LUC-1-13).

Compliance wtih Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

DM, CB, AH, and AB declare that they have no conflict of interest. CS received a research grant to fund this research from the Foundation for Child Development.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy L. McLeod
    • 1
  • Carolyn R. Bates
    • 1
  • Amy M. Heard
    • 1
  • Amy M. Bohnert
    • 1
  • Catherine DeCarlo Santiago
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA

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