A new study just published in the March issue of Pediatrics says that half the time parents are turning a blind eye to childhood obesity–they simply don’t see, or want to see, that their child is severely overweight, and consider him/her to be normal weight.
The review of 16,000 children ages 2-18 across 69 studies also shared that parents of children aged 2-5 were more likely to underestimate the weight of children who are overweight in elementary school or beyond.
So why the disconnect regarding childhood obesity? Some parents think kids just have baby fat, or that they’ll grow out of it. In addition, parents that have have not yet faced up to their own weight problems are going to be less likely to see their kids as having one.
Currently, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), one-third of children are overweight or obese, and this puts them at risk for all the health problems that impact overweight adults–Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, sleep apnea and more–but at a much earlier age.
So how does a parent know if their kid is overweight or obese? Numbers don’t lie. A child who is in the 85th – 95th percentile of a BMI chart is overweight, and above that, they are considered obese. While there are deficiencies in BMI charts, it’s usually only thrown off by a very athletic child with lots of muscle mass, and that’s an obvious exception.
The lesson here is to be honest about your child’s weight situation and work with your medical professional to help him/her healthfully lose the weight so they can grow up to be healthy adults without health issues. The time to act is now, as another study recently documented that children who are overweight in kindergarten, are four times more likely to be obese by the time they hit 8th grade.
Some easy fixes include:
- Limit TV and video game time and get your child to move more and be more active
- Don’t let them drink their calories in the form of juices and sodas
- Makeover favorite junk foods and comfort foods to their healthiest versions or find an equally acceptable healthier alternative
- Limit junk foods to be real treats–not everyday items
- Teach your child about proper portions
- Make fruits and vegetables fun
- Help your child make better choices when eating school lunches and eating out
Healthy Lombard Partner and Certified Health and Wellness Coach Melanie Jordan specializes in helping others get back to their dream weight for good without gimmicks or deprivation. Weight Loss Coach Melanie really “gets” those who are challenged with losing and maintaining their weight as she has successfully overcome her own weight struggles and kept off 48 pounds. Melanie is also an ACE Certified Group Exercise Instructor and Silver Sneakers FLEX Instructor specializing in Senior Fitness (Zumba Gold® Licensed with Ageless Grace® and Silver Sneakers® Strength Training Certifications pending).
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