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Face The Facts Your Child Is Fat: Half The Number Of Parents With Obese Kids Are In Denial About Their Children’s Weight
Face The Facts Your Child Is Fat: Half The Number Of Parents With Obese Kids Are In Denial About Their Children’s Weight

Child obesity problem is bigger than what we may it to be, according to the new study half of parents with obese child are in denial about their child’s weight thinking they are overweight and some even thinking their kids are underweight.

They tended to underestimate their child’s excess weight or dismiss the problem as ‘puppy fat’, despite soaring rates of obesity.

Others with an obese child thought their son or daughter was normal or slightly heavy, while one in seven parents whose child was a healthy weight worried they were too skinny.

Alyssa Lundahl, who led the study at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the US, said parents who failed to recognise the problem were letting their children down.

‘We know that parents play a very crucial role in preventing childhood obesity,’ she said.

‘When parents’ perceptions are corrected, they do start to take action and encourage their children to become more active and maybe turn off the TV and go outside and play.’

The research involved a review of 69 existing studies worldwide between 1990 and 2012, of more than 15,000 children aged two to 18. It found 51 per cent of parents with overweight or obese children underestimated their child’s size.

In each case, researchers asked parents to assess their child’s weight using pictures or rating scales.

They then measured the children to determine whether they would be classified as overweight or obese based on where they fell in Body Mass Index growth charts.

Parents of younger children aged between two and five are less likely to perceive them as overweight or obese, said the study, published online in the journal Pediatrics.

Parents who are overweight were found to be less likely to accurately assess their children’s weight.

Yet children with at least one obese parent are more likely to become obese themselves. In England almost a third of ten to 11-year-olds, and more than a fifth of four to five-year-olds, are overweight or obese.

Around three-quarters of obese children are likely to remain that way into adulthood, putting them at risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

It is possible parents in the studies wanted to avoid labelling or stigmatising their child, Ms Lundahl and her colleagues wrote.

Or, their understanding of what an overweight child looks like could be distorted from media reports on childhood obesity showing images of severely obese kids.

The authors did the same analysis looking at 52 studies of about 65,000 normal-weight children. They found 14 per cent of those children’s parents also underestimated their child’s weight.

Ms Lundahl, whose research is published in Paediatrics, said parents can make sure their child’s paediatrician is checking whether the child is in the normal weight-to-height range.

Conversations about weight can be difficult for both paediatricians and parents, noted Dr Raquel Hernandez, from All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

‘Parents do have to be more open-minded to the conversation of how they feel about their child’s weight,’ Dr Hernandez, who wasn’t involved in the new research, told Reuters Health.

‘For the motivated parent who is open-minded there may be an issue, there is a real potential to make an impact in young kids,’ she said.

That is important because children who are overweight are much more likely to grow up to be obese than their normal-weight peers.

Dr Hernandez recommended parents of overweight children cut down on sugary drinks like juice and be careful with portion sizes.

Source: Daily mail


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