Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Preschoolers tend to have negative perceptions of overweight children

Date:
March 30, 2012
Source:
Ryerson University
Summary:
A Canadian study has found that some preschoolers may perceive overweight children to be not as “nice”.

A Canadian study has found that some preschoolers may perceive overweight children to be not as "nice."

"A child's perception of body image is influenced by many factors in their environment, yet there hasn't been much research conducted in this area with young children," says Wei Su, lead author of the study. She conducted the research as part of her master's thesis in early childhood studies at Ryerson University.

Wei Su, in collaboration with Aurelia Di Santo, a professor in Ryerson's School of Early Childhood Education, spoke with 41 children (21 boys and 20 girls), ages two and a half to five years, at five early learning and daycare centres in the Greater Toronto Area. Each child listened to four stories, two about boys and two about girls, where one child in each story says or does something 'nice' and the other child does or says something 'mean'. After each story, the child is shown an illustration of two accompanying figures without any facial features: one who isn't overweight and one who is. The child is then asked to identify which figure is "nice" and which one is "mean."

The researchers found that nearly 44 per cent of young children chose the child who was overweight to be the "mean" child in all four stories. When the children were asked to give a reason for their choice, they described the figures looking "really, really mean" or "mad" and that the "mean" child looked "fatter" or "bigger" even though the figures did not have any facial expressions.

Slightly more than two per cent of children identified the heavier child as being "nice" in all four stories. The researchers also noticed a trend in children's negative perceptions of overweight children increasing with their age.

"Based on these results, preschool children as young as two and a half are being exposed to many factors in their environment that seem to have an impact on body image," says Su.

"The preschoolers that we worked with in this study tended to have these negative perceptions," adds Di Santo. "That tells us we need to pay more attention to what's happening during the preschool years."

In order to address these negative perceptions, the researchers recommend that parents, caregivers and early childhood educators should reflect on their attitudes about body image and try not to project these ideas onto children.

"We need to reinforce positive values about body image in young children, especially when there are activities at home or in early learning centres that involve discussions on healthy eating," says Di Santo. "We also need to really listen to what children are saying about body image and work with that."

The study was published in the February issue of the Journal of Early Childhood Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ryerson University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. W. Su, D. S. Aurelia. Preschool children's perceptions of overweight peers. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 2011; 10 (1): 19 DOI: 10.1177/1476718X11407411

Cite This Page:

Ryerson University. "Preschoolers tend to have negative perceptions of overweight children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120330123022.htm>.
Ryerson University. (2012, March 30). Preschoolers tend to have negative perceptions of overweight children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120330123022.htm
Ryerson University. "Preschoolers tend to have negative perceptions of overweight children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120330123022.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins