More than half of parents underestimated their children’s classification as overweight or obese-children themselves and health professionals also share this misperception, according to new research presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, United Kingdom.
“Despite attempts to raise public awareness of the obesity problem, our findings indicate that underestimation of child higher weight status is very common”, says Abrar Alshahrani from the University of Nottingham, UK, who led the research.
Results showed that over half (55%) of parents underestimated the degree of overweight in their children, whilst over a third (34%) of children and adolescents also underestimated their own weight status. Healthcare professionals shared this misperception, but limited studies prevented quantification. Parents of younger children were less likely to perceive their child as overweight, and were less accurate at judging the weight of boys than girls.
“Identifying weight problems in childhood and adolescence is a unique window of opportunity to have a lifetime impact on health”, says Alshahrani.