Is my child plump…or overweight?

Despite the numerous public awareness campaigns of late, childhood obesity remains a growing public health concern.

Despite the numerous public awareness campaigns of late, childhood obesity remains a growing public health concern. However, a recently published Australian study succeeded in shedding new light on this very serious issue.

Researchers compared standard measures of the waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) of more than 2,100 children between the ages of 4 and 12, as well the parents’ perception of their offspring’s stoutness. The findings revealed that many parents seem to have difficulty recognizing a weight problem in their own family. Case in point: although nearly half of the parents who were questioned did in fact have an overweight child, they nevertheless believed their youngster had a healthy body weight.

These findings did not come as a surprise to Canadian researchers, as parents in our country are also incapable of having a critical eye when it comes to their children’s weight. Consequently, when the Canadian Medical Association conducted a survey in 2006, only 9% of parents reported having a child who suffered from obesity. These results dramatically differ from those obtained by Statistics Canada, which indicated that more than a quarter of all young Canadians are actually obese.

But how can we explain this gigantic gap between perception and reality? Given the fact that nearly three Canadian adults out of five are overweight, it is believed that adults also likely find it difficult to recognize what a healthy body weight truly is.

Needless to say, parents do not maliciously disregard their own weight problem, or that of their children’s. Thankfully, there are ways to improve our family’s health such as eating more fruits and vegetables, and being more active for example. It is easier to find fun ideas to help make the transition to a healthier lifestyle much smoother when we work together as a family unit. You can also speak with one of your health professionals to get additional tips and suggestions. They are there to help you!

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