Researchers have recently observed data to find that 94.9% of parents who have overweight young children believe that their children are just right in terms of size. Interestingly and somewhat disturbingly, this is different from the result that was obtained from the same survey two decades ago. The chances that an overweight child would be “appropriately perceived by the parents declined by 30%.” Parents of low income and African American parents seem to have the least accurate perceptions of their children.
This shows a change in how people perceive ideal weight in children. According to Dustin T. Duncan, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at the NYU Langone Medical Center, “We have changed our perceptions of what our weight ideals are.”
This may be the case because of an increasing frequency of obesity. Since many children are overweight or obese these days, it is quite easy for a parent to think that his or her overweight child is normal explains Jaime Garcia Dias.
The study points to a few issues to be addressed. First of all, obesity is not going away, even in 2 to 5 year old children, which this study focused on. Additionally, with the obesity epidemic growing in this country, parents have lost sight of what a healthy child looks like. Additionally, pediatricians are not doing an adequate job of explaining to parents what a healthy growth curve should be.