Childhood Obesity: Why a Parent's Denial Poses Health Risks

   By drodriguez  Feb 14, 2014

While scales don’t lie, many parents are unwilling to see the truth that their kids are overweight. More than half of parents of overweight and obese children don’t believe their child is too heavy. It may not sound like such a bad thing, but this inability for parents to see the truth can hinder their child from leading a healthier lifestyle as they grow.

USA Today reports about the study from the University of Nebraska that finds many parents to be in denial about their child’s weight and why this can be detrimental to their child’s health. Lead author Alyssa Lundahl explains, “Parents who underestimate their kids' weight may not take action to encourage healthy behaviors that would improve their child's weight and reduce their risk of future health conditions.”

Though parents of overweight kids seem to be the most in denial (with 51% believing their child is not overweight), about 14% of parents of normal-weight are also in the dark, believing their children to be underweight. Interestingly, the parents who believe their normal weight children are too thin are usually talking about their sons. Lundahl believes this to be due to the misconception that boys are supposed to be big, strong and muscular.

Parents of younger children (ages 2-5) who are overweight are more likely to believe their child is normal weight. Lundahl explains why as kids get older many parents begin to realize their child’s weight issues. She says, “As kids get older, parents realize it's not just baby fat any more, and the kids are not going to grow out of it.”

What do you think of the recent study that suggests many parents of overweight children don’t believe their child is overweight?

Do you think this misconception can be detrimental to the health of overweight kids?



Make a Comment

joybean by joybean | NEW YORK, NY
Mar 25, 2014

I agree. My son was never chubby until he began Kindergarten. The 1st semester he gained a few pounds because there is very little exercise in public school. He did have gym class at his school, but I hear some schools can't offer it due to overcrowding in certain schools. So, I enrolled him in tennis classes and swimming on the weekends since I worked full-time. Now, 6 years later he is in 5th grade and one of the tallest and thinnest kids in his class.

browneyedgir1 by browneyedgir1 | CHESAPEAKE, VA
Feb 28, 2014

I did a paper on childhood obesity for one of my classes not that long ago. When doing my research I found that although the parents play a huge role in this childhood obesity epidemic our government and school systems played an equal role. The information I found was located on the CDC website.

Kay3131 by Kay3131 | New York, NY
Feb 19, 2014

Age 7, wow. This is such an important issue to our country.

basilandcatnip by basilandcatnip | GARLAND, TX
Feb 17, 2014

I was at a professional meeting the other day speaker was a heart and stroke specialist. Pediatricians are now doing complete blood workups on children starting at age 7 looking at cholesterol.