Your child’s weight: The real normal
When it comes to assessing children’s weight, experts say some parents have a skewed point-of-view.
Results of a recent poll show a disconnect between parents’ opinion of their child’s weight compared to what experts say is actually reality, they may be overweight. The survey was taken by National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard’s School of Public Health.
Only 15 percent of the parents who responded to the poll considered their children to be overweight. But current statistics say the percentage of overweight American children is far higher. According to the American Heart Association, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. A minimum of parents surveyed, just 20 percent, expressed any concern about their children’s weight.
Researchers say, one possible reason parents have a skewed view when it comes to their children’s size might be because they are overweight themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 70 percent of American adults are overweight and more than 35 percent are obese.
Dr. Jennifer DeBruler, an internal medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group says the whole family needs to work together to maintain a healthy weight. “I encourage my patients to make living healthy a household affair,” she said. “The entire family needs to be engaged in the dietary changes that are essential to treating a child who is overweight or obese.”
She also says when it comes to a kids diet, parents need to keep in mind the “too much and too little” rule.
“Parents should make sure their kids should avoid eating too much sugar, fast food and trans-fats,” an instead opt for more whole grains, fruits and veggies and a little more exercise,” she said.
“Parents are the primary influencers in a child’s life. It’s really up to them to set the example.”
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.