Overweight Children Not Seen as Overweight by Mothers

While prevention is the key to reducing the incidence of childhood obesity, most mothers do not perceive their overweight children as having a weight problem. Thus, early efforts to curb obesity may be unsuccessful, according to a recent study.

The study, published in the December issue of Pediatrics, included 622 mothers with children between the ages of 23 months and 5 years. Researchers measured the children based on their body mass index, and found 99 of the children to be overweight; yet nearly 79 percent of the mothers with overweight children did not perceive their children as having a weight problem.

Researchers speculate that many mothers believe that their overweight children will eventually lose weight and attribute the excess weight to “leftover baby fat.”

Overweight children are more likely than their normal-weight counterparts to grow up to be obese adults, increasing their risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and a host of other diseases. Researchers hope that the findings of the study will help to educate mothers of overweight children about obesity and improve prevention efforts to curb obesity in children.

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