Yonago Acta medica 1997;40:137–145
Mothers' Body Perception Biased to Obesity and its Effects on Nursing Behaviors
Noriko Yakura, Tsunakiyo Kasagi and Kaori Hiroe*
Department of Nursing, Tottori University, Institute of Medical Care Technology and *Division of Nursing, University Hospital, Tottori University, Yonago 683 Japan
Many women who have dieted in adolescence seem to become mothers without correcting their obesity-biased perceptions of the body. This study estimated the number of such mothers and analyzed the problems in their nursing: 1496 mothers to 790 babies aged 4 months and 706 children aged 18 months completed questionnaires addressing mothers' images of their own and their children's body, mothers' behaviors to reduce children's weight, their behavior patterns and mothers' experiences to reduce their own weight. The level of obesity was calculated with the body mass index (BMI) (weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) from the measurements of children's and mothers' body weight and height. Body image was distorted most in mothers for themselves, and then for babies and children: 23.2% and 58.2% of nonobese babies (BMI: 18 and 19, respectively) and 23.2% of nonobese children (BMI: 17) were regarded as obese. Mothers' objective evaluation by referring to the percentile values was less frequent than expected, and subjective evaluation such as "compared with other children" was noted. Weight reducing was practiced in 7.7% of nonobese babies and 17.2% of nonobese children. The high percentage level was due to mothers' body shape evaluation biased to obesity and worry about children's possible future obesity. In 10.5% of the babies and 11.8% of the children, the mothers took extreme dieting measures that could inhibit normal growth of children, such as diluting the concentration of breast milk or formula, reducing the frequency and amount of feeding, etc. Health participants should make young mothers understand the difference of fatness in nursing babies from adolescent obesity through health guidance given individually to mothers on any occasion. Furthermore, considering the effects of mass media, health participants should actively offer related information in printed matter familiar to mothers.
Key words: body shape evaluation; weight-reducing behavior; mothers; nursing babies; wish to be thinner
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