Can you tell if your child is obese?

Most parents say they know their child better than any one else. It would stand to reason, then, that a parent would know if a child is overweight or obese. A new study out today in Pediatrics shows that may not be the case.

Out of 16,000 children, ages 2-18, 51% of the parents with overweight children believed their children to be of normal weight. Fourteen percent of parents with children of normal weight considered their child to be underweight. The danger in this, according to the lead author of the study,{}"is that parents who underestimate a child's weight may not take action to encourage healthy behaviors that would improve their child's weight and reduce their risk of future health conditions."

Parents of children ages two to five were more likely to underestimate the weight of heavy children than parents of overweight children in elementary school or older. The older a child gets, parents realize the weight is no longer "baby fat."

Approximately one third of young people in the United States are overweight or obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity puts a child at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver disease, sleep apnea, musculoskeletal problems and other health concerns.

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