Parents Still Blind to Childhood Obesity

Two years ago, I wrote about one of the sadder contributors to childhood obesity: Parents didn’t recognize their own children were getting bigger and, no doubt, sicker. Although parents aren’t much better today than they were before, according to a new study, at least they see the obesity in their sons and daughters.

About 20 percent of the more than 200 children (ages 2-17) researchers studied were overweight and almost as many were at risk of becoming that way. And, like other studies, only 36 percent of the parents polled identified their kids as being overweight or at risk.

When asked to match their child’s appearance to various sketches, however, 70 percent of parents chose a midsize or heavier image. And parents of children under age 7 were better at doing that than all the others.

Makes you wonder if this gap in perception has anything to do with parents failing to understand just how much they influence their children, even more than their peers.

The best thing you can do for your child TODAY is to read a study I posted last year about the seven risk factors for childhood obesity. If you recognize any of these signs, please take action as soon as you can. Remember, preventing childhood obesity is far easier than treating it.

Pediatrics, Vol. 117, No. 3, March 2006: 681-690

MSNBC March 6, 2006