Parents a fat lot of good in obesity crisis as more than half think their children are slimmer than they really are


MORE than half of parents fail to recognise their kid is fat, research reveals.

It shows 55 per cent of mums and dads think their child is slimmer than they actually are.

Getty – Contributor

Many parents do not see the signs their child is overweight[/caption]

One in three Brit kids now leaves primary school too tubby.

The Nottingham University findings suggest millions of parents are unaware of their children’s weight problems.

Being too heavy puts them at increased risk of diabetes, heart problems and cancer.

The analysis, presented at the world’s biggest obesity conference, looked at data on nearly 25,000 families.

It reveals parents often described their oversized offspring as “big boned” or “solid” instead of calling them obese.

And they were less likely to spot the signs of excess weight in boys. Even doctors regularly underestimated children’s tubbiness.

Lead researcher Abrar Alshahrani, from Nottingham University, said: “Identifying weight problems in childhood and adolescence is a unique window of opportunity to have a lifetime impact on health.

“The results suggest that underestimation of child overweight status is highly prevalent.”

The research was presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow.

It also found children were more aware of their own weight problems, with just one in three underestimating their size.

But fat parents were the least likely to realise their child was overweight or obese.

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One in three children are overweight by the time they leave primary school[/caption]

Dr Max Davie, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “This study adds to the idea that as a society we’re becoming blind to the obesity epidemic. Because it’s increasingly common to see people who are overweight or obese, there is a danger that is becomes normal and therefore very difficult to identify what is actually an unhealthy weight.

“This isn’t about singling people out or pointing fingers, but it is about promoting self-awareness and making sure people can access support for controlling their weight sooner rather than later.”

Currently kids are measured just twice during primary school as part of a national measurement programme.

One in five are too tubby at the start, while one in three leaves too fat.

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said the NHS should regularly weigh kids.

He said: “Millions of parents are in denial about their own and their children’s weight and they are doing their kids no favours at all.

“The greater tragedy is that the health profession has for years colluded with this medical error by not requiring its staff to assess children’s weight routinely, by not telling the parents the true figures and by not intervening to correct excess weight gain until it’s too late.”


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