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Comment & Response
December 9, 2019

Parent-Measured and Parent-Estimated Child’s Heights and Weights—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix
  • 2MedStar Health Research Institute, Hyattsville, Maryland
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(2):206. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.4725

In Reply We appreciate Deng and Niu’s comments about the importance of evaluating the accuracy of parent-measured and parent-estimated height and weight for classifying children’s weight status. Accurate measurements are crucial to develop and evaluate population-based interventions aimed at addressing childhood obesity.

Serving the broader goals of our New Jersey Child Health Study1 that longitudinally examines the association of food and physical activity environments with children’s weight status, the aim of the published analysis was to assess whether, compared with professional measurement, parent-measured height and weight would yield a more accurate weight status classification for children than parent-estimated height and weight. We hypothesized that parent-measured values would improve on parent estimates and thus offer a better alternative to professionally measured height and weight, a method that is resource prohibitive in large population studies. Using professional measurement as the criterion standard, we found no empirical evidence to support this hypothesis. In fact, sensitivity and specificity obtained using the 2 methods were very similar and their ratios (relative sensitivity and specificity2), 0.99 and 1.06, respectively, were not significantly different from 1.1

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