herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Parents are 'unable to tell if child is obese'

Parents with obese children may not be able to recognise that their child is overweight unless they are at very extreme levels of obesity, research has found.

The study found that parents were more likely to underestimate their child's weight if they were black or south Asian, from more deprived backgrounds or if the child was male.

The research, which is published in the British Journal of General Practice, discovered that just under a third (31pc) of the parents that took part in the study underestimated where their child's body mass index (BMI) was on obesity scales.

identify

Just four parents described their child as being very overweight, despite 369 children being officially identified as such and fewer than 1pc overestimated their child's weight status.

According to official guidelines, children are classified as overweight at the 85th centile and very overweight (or obese) at the 95th centile.

Researchers suggested that if parents cannot identify when their child is overweight, it leads to questions about the effectiveness of current public health interventions which aim to address obesity in the home.

They said potential explanations for parents' underestimations may be fear of being judged, unwillingness to label a child as overweight, and shifting perceptions of normal weight because of increases in body weight at a societal level.

hnews@herald.ie

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