One-third of U.S. children are overweight or obese. Kids generally begin accumulating excess fat cells and pounds early in life, while the child is under the parents’ control, say researchers. Children become overweight for several reasons.
Often, parents are working and lack time and motivation to prepare cooked-from-scratch healthy meals. It’s simply easier to provide packaged or frozen meals or grab fast food, all likely fatty, salty, and sugary.
Parents themselves are often overweight or obese (nearly 70% of adults) and teach the same food habits to their children. Also, many parents just don’t know what good food choices are. They see the words “healthy” or “all natural” on package labels and believe the food item is a good option. Yet, that item might be filled with disease-prompting salt, saturated fat, and added sugars.
A new study published late February in Pediatrics found that most parents don’t recognize extra weight on their kids and perceive that their children are slimmer than they really are. So, the parent isn’t concerned.
The study consisted of a review of 69 studies of more than 15,000 children ages 2 and up. Researchers had parents assess their child’s size using pictures, rating scales and other techniques. They then measured the children to determine their BMI cutoffs for overweight or obese.
Over half the parents thought their overweight child was normal or underweight or thought their obese child was normal, just overweight, or even underweight. Researchers thought the parents had a distorted view of what an overweight child looks like because media reports show grossly obese kids in their reports on weight issues.
A parent’s perception of their child’s weight is important because parents will take action and encourage their kids to be more active and eat healthier foods when they see their child as having a weight problem. Doing so helps the child avoid disease later in life.
No matter what your child’s weight is, he/she benefits from good nutrition. Why not make the nutritious and kid-friendly smoothies from our new “Smoothies for Kidneys” book. Just click on the book cover, above.