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Parents Don't Pay Attention to Childhood Obesity

If you're a parent and very concerned about the health of your kids, take a good look at them today. Have they gained a few pounds over the past year? Are they feeling more sluggish than usual? British researchers suspect you may not be paying enough attention to them.

Only 25 percent of some 300 parents polled actually recognized their children were overweight. Moreover, when their children were obese, a third of mothers and 57 percent of fathers thought the weight of their sons and daughters was "about right." Another strange and telling finding: Parents were much more likely to recognize the overweight condition of their daughters than sons by a 2-1 margin!

As you can imagine, some parents showed a lack of concern towards their children's weight problems, researchers said. Although more than half of obese children's parents expressed some concern over their child's condition, only a quarter of parents of overweight children described themselves as even "a little worried" about it.

Misjudging weight problems was not confined to their children, however. Of the parents who were overweight themselves, 40 percent of mothers and 45 percent of fathers judged their own weight to be "about right."

These results largely mirror those in a study I posted earlier this year that found many parents don't realize that their child is overweight or obese largely because we are all so accustomed to seeing overweight children.

Some quick hints to helping your kids shed some pounds and feel better:

EurekAlert November 25, 2004

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