Table 2.

Definition: How Do You Know a Child is Overweight?

Theme 1.  Mothers do not define a healthy weight by measurements or by standardized growth charts.
1.1   They [WIC professionals/providers] always go by these charts, and I don't think that's accurate because when is there ever an average child, or the right height, and the right weight child? I've never seen it. Everyone is different—I believe.
1.2   Honestly, I don't think they understand it, because they're just sticking your child's weight and your child's height and connecting the dots. I mean, they're telling you, “This is where your child is.” They're not taking into consideration the family's background. I mean, they're not looking at me and saying “well, I'm big.” I'm big. I'm thick. So, she's going to be thick.
1.3  My youngest one, she's really, really tiny. I mean, she's short, you know. But on the chart, she's considered chunky. But she's tiny—so it's like—they don't—the weight and the height—they don't, you know, come together.
1.4   They have commended me—or whatever—saying you're doing everything right. But the chart still comes up.
1.5  If you're already feeding your child all the right foods, what else can they say? What can they tell you that's going to make your child go into that chart that you're not already doing?
1.6   So I really don't worry about it—about what they're saying on their chart or whatever.
1.7   Every time I bring him in here, they are like, “Oh, he is so big,” and they are doing this graph. We never fit on a graph and we never will.
Theme 2.  Mothers speak about a child's size in terms of bone structure, frame, and clothing size.
2.1   It's not that she's overweight, she's a solid girl.
2.2   She's solid and its not like [there is] a lot of fat everywhere.
2.3   Some people may think that they are overweight because they look big, but I—I think that just because you're big-boned doesn't mean you're overweight.
2.4   I can look at him, and he might weigh a lot, of course, but that could be just all muscle. 'Cause he is a strong kid.
2.5   She's pretty healthy, but I guess she has a nice bone structure to make her look, you know, bigger than she really is.
2.6   I got 7 aunts and all of them wear size 11 shoes. All of them. They are not fat. They are big-boned. They are still slim but they are just big women.
2.7   My aunts and them, they're like 190, but you wouldn't be able to tell. That's what I mean by big-boned. She carries her weight real good. If she were 160, she would look real small.
2.8   There is nobody in my family that is really tiny or small-boned. The women are all nice sized. The men are big and tall.
2.9   Because if you wear size 2, you are too little for anybody. Thick is a cultural term. African-American women, in general, don't have a problem like Caucasian women have with weight issues. When we say thick, a size 12 woman or size 14 woman is not unusual for African-Americans. We are fine with that.
2.10  If I lose so much weight, my frame is not going to look right—it's going to look like I'm on crack. Because I have a big frame.
2.11  If I was 120, I'd look sick. [In response to that comment, another said] You'd look anorexic. [and another said] She'd be all sunk in.
2.12  It would not be a number for me. J—- is 4, he's the youngest. He wears clothes that—his brother is 8 and him, they interchange certain things. It is just the length that is the problem. When J—- is starting to wear clothes that are bigger than the 8 year old, then I would say that [there was a problem]. Because I am expecting him to get taller and therefore, he would grow into stuff in length and not have to get bigger sizes. But when I start seeing him getting into where he can't button his pants, then I know they are too small and I am going to be concerned.
2.13  My two girls wear the same size, which is a 6X. If my youngest got in my nephew's size, which is an 8, then I would be worried.
2.14  He's four, but he is the size of a seven year old. We have big people in our family also.
2.15  My son is 3 and wears a size 7 and he is on his way to an 8 the next time I go shopping. He is not fat.
Theme 3.  Children are considered overweight if they are seen as inactive, lazy, or are being teased about their weight.
3.1   If they weren't at a healthy weight, they wouldn't be as active as—I wouldn't think—have the energy to be able to move around.
3.2   If he wasn't playing right or he was short of breath, that would be concerning.
3.3   They're still going to consider her overweight, so I'm not going to worry about it because she is still as active as any child that I see who has the smaller body frame.
3.4   [Being overweight] becomes a problem when they're lazy and all they want to do is eat, sit in front of the TV, or just don't want to interact with children.
3.5   Obese to me [means that a person] can barely walk.
3.6   Obese means [a] guy needs to come out with a tow truck [in order to move the individual].
3.7   Like that guy that couldn't get out of bed because he was so big. That's obese.
3.8   And she's not fat, but she's chunky. You know, and I know, like, kids at school make fun of her because she's, like, the fattest cheerleader and it's hard.
3.9   Even if I don't think she's overweight. I don't want other people, you know, sitting here making fun of her and stuff like that.
3.10  I don't think overweight is ever a problem for the kids. It's just around those who make it a problem because they wouldn't feel that it was a problem unless other kids see it that way.
Theme 4.  Children are not considered overweight as long as they are active, playful, happy, and have good appetites.
4.1   I don't know what to do—she's busy all the time—she's exercising constantly, running and jumping.
4.2   If he was not as interested in playing, then I would get concerned.
4.3   See, my little girl, she—she won't be still. That's why I really don't have a problem with her weight. She will not be still. It's like [she's] got a jumping bean in her stomach.
4.4   It's not that she's overweight, she's a solid girl. She eats all the right foods, it's just how it comes up on her.
4.5   He eats a lot of vegetables. He also eats a lot of junk but I think he balances it out when he eats his vegetables.
4.6.   Like at dinnertime, she really eats. She can eat as much as I can eat but she doesn't eat a lot of junk food. She eats a lot of food that's good for her.
4.7   To have a healthy child is to have a child that has good eating habits, not sick too often, plays good, eats good.