One in Four Parents Underestimates Child Weight Issues


Overweight Male ChildA new study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease has found that one in four kids do not realize they are overweight.

According to the study published by the department of quantitative health sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts, 27 percent of children and teens underestimate their weight while only 3 percent overestimated their weight.

The study also found that one in four parents also underestimate their child’s weight while only one percent of parents overestimated their kid’s weight.

According to lead researcher Han-Yang Chen, “Efforts to prevent childhood obesity should incorporate education for both children and parents regarding the proper identification and interpretation of actual body weight.” Chen further notes, “Interventions for appropriate weight loss should target children directly because one of the major driving forces to lose weight comes from the child’s perception of their weight.”

Doctors warn that many parents pass off their child’s weight problems as nothing more than a glandular problem that they will outgrow. That excuse persists despite hundreds of studies that have found that obese children tend to remain obese for the rest of their lives.


With millions of overweight and obese adults, researchers warn that children and the adults in their lives tend to justify their own weight gains.

The University of Massachusetts team examined data collect from 2007 through 2010 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study included more than 2,500 children aged 8 to 15 years.

Researchers warn that the odds of losing weight are  nearly 10 times higher when a child underestimates their weight problem.

The study also found that parents who misinterpret their child’s weight are less likely to help their child shed the extra pounds. That decision leads to unhealthy eating practices and a lack of exercise throughout life.

As always, researchers point to a healthy diet and regular exercise as the best way to shed the extra pounds. Essentially parents need to have their children turn off the TV and play outside and then sit their children down to a well-balanced and healthy meal.

Researchers warn that we should not be pre-occupied with a child’s weight but rather stress to kids the importance of a healthy lifestyle.


Personal and Parental Weight Misperception and Self-Reported Attempted Weight Loss in US Children and Adolescents, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007–2008 and 2009–2010:

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Written by James Johnson

James Johnson is a writer, editor, husband, and father.

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