Would You Notice If Your Kid Was Overweight?

Many parents don't realize when their children are overweight, according to a new study.

overweight child on scale
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You think you'd know if your kid was overweight, right?

But according to a new study, many parents don't.

When researchers asked 4,437 parents to report their child's height and weight, the majority of them thought their child was a normal weight, regardless of whether or not this was actually true.

To assess how accurately parents could distinguish between healthy and unhealthy weight in their children, parents were asked questions like: "Is your child underweight, normal weight, overweight, or very over weight?" and "What are your intentions regarding your child's weight?"

Results suggested that about 16 percent of the kids were overweight and 6 percent were obese. But when parents were asked if their child's weight was healthy or unhealthy, only about 8 percent said they had overweight kids and only 0.2 percent reported an obese child.

Why is this a big deal? Beacuse according to study co-author Dr. Christina Pollard, the parents who didn't recognize a weight problem in their children were less likely to take steps aimed at solving the problem.

"The inaction based on misguided perception is of major concern," Dr. Pollard told Fox News. "Taking action to improve diet and physical activity during childhood can help children avoid a lifetime of being overweight or obese."

Parents of overweight or obese children should focus on helping the children maintain their current weight as they get taller or on losing weight, she added, and underweight children need to gain weight until they achieve a minimum healthy size for their height.

To determine whether your child's weight is in the normal range for his height, use the BMI calculator on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld.

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