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More parents fail to recognise obesity in children

US research has revealed that fewer parents are able to recognise that their child is overweight or obese today compared with 20 years ago.

According to the study, as levels of obesity increase, there are fewer parents able to spot weight problems in their children than during the last two decades.

Dr Jian Zhang from Georgia Southern University, the lead author of the study, states that almost one third of children are now overweight or obese. Zhang also pointed out that this would increase the likelihood of developing diseases like diabetes and heart disease later in life. During an interview with Reuters Health, the doctor said that parents would need to be aware of a weight problem before they could deal with it.

Weight and height data was examined for 2,871 children, taken from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 1994. Just over a quarter of the parents with obese children believed that their child was ‘about the right weight’. Data was then retrieved for the period 2005 to 2010, for children aged 6 to 11 years old. In 2010, 37% of these parents thought that their offspring was ‘about the right weight’.

Dr Zhang also said that children are more likely to consider themselves the right weight, especially as obesity is more common. Schools in the UK are tackling the problem of obesity by introducing healthier options for school meals and snacks, with some tuckshops also providing franchise opportunities for mums. Increased levels of exercise and a healthy diet will help to tackle the problem.

Posted by Jennifer
September 4, 2014
Research

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