Parents don't think their kids are overweight

February 19, 2008 in Diabetes & Diabetes Prevention, Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

Parents don't think their kids are overweight

Many parents of overweight children don't perceive their child as being excessively heavy, according to a new study published in Diabetes Care.

In this study, the researchers interviewed 104 adolescent children with type 2 diabetes and their parents. Both the children and the parents were asked if they thought the children were "very overweight, slightly overweight, about right, slightly thin, or very thin".

87 percent of children were overweight, however, only 41 percent of parents considered their children to be "very overweight".  

40 percent of parents who thought their children's weight was "about right" had kids who were in the top 95th percentile for weight. This means the child is heavier than 95 percent of their peers who are the same age and height.

Children were more likely to underestimate their weight when their parents also underestimated weight. More than half of the children who said their weight was "about right" were heavier than most of their peers.  

Recognizing that a child is overweight is the first step to making diet and lifestyle changes to promote weight loss. Underestimating a child's weight can lead to poorer diet and exercise habits, which, in turn, can lead to obesity-related disease like type 2 diabetes.

In Canada, over one-third of children aged 2 to 11 are overweight and an increasing number are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which was previously called adult-onset diabetes.

For more information about proper nutrition for children, see Leslie Beck's Healthy Eating for Pre-teens and Teens.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.