Most American Parents Blind to Obese Kids

By Staff Reporter - 26 Aug '14 05:55AM

Many American parents are blind to their children's obesity and weight issues, finds a study.

It is a known fact that parents are less likely to accept their chubby children need some serious weight watching and diet. A new research by the Georgia Southern University in Statesboro found mothers and fathers fail to detect increase in body weight of children aged between six and 11. The experts compared survey analysis of parents on children's health and body weight conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during 2005 to 2010 and 1988 to 1994. They noticed of- late, parents and care-givers were in denial and 24 percent less likely to recognize bulging waistlines and flab as obesity.

"The society as a whole is stuck with a vicious cycle. Parents incorrectly believe their kids are healthy, they are less likely to take action, and so it increases the likelihood that their kids will become even less healthy," said Jian Zhang, study author and associate professor of epidemiology at Georgia Southern University, reports the Health Day News.

The findings also revealed during the years between 1988 and 1994, parents were 51 percent likely to think their child was way above the normal body weight. The figure started declining over the years to 44 percent during 2005 to  2010. Over 75 percent of the surveyed participants perceived being overweight was just normal and healthy for children.

"We compare ourselves to the people we see around us. If a child is in a class where most of the kids are overweight or obese, that becomes the new normal," said Amanda Staiano, director of the Pediatric Obesity and Health Behavior Laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, L.A.

The authors also added the current guidelines on pediatric health are rather complicated and confusing for parents. Moreover, many avoid addressing obesity and unhealthy weight gain as a serious health concern fearing stigma and children undergoing peer victimization.

"Practitioners are in an ideal position to help the parents and correct their misperception. Without help from professionals, the epidemic of childhood obesity cannot be reverse," added Zhang.

More information is available online in the journal Pediatrics.

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