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Moms Fail To Accurately Guess Baby's Body Type: More Bad News On The Obesity Front
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Moms Fail to Accurately Guess Baby\'s Body Type: More Bad News on the Obesity Front

Erin Hager, an Assistant Professor at the Pediatrics, Growth and Nutrition Division has completed a research study about parental perception of their children's body sizes. Hager works within the University of Maryland School of Medicine. To perform the study, Hager had more than two hundred, low income mothers to come in and look at seven drawings of toddler body types which ranged from underweight to obese. In the study, many of the mothers themselves were also described as overweight.

Each mother was asked to look at the drawings and to choose which one most closely resembled their own child. Seventy percent of the mothers were wrong, especially those mothers with overweight children. Mothers who had underweight children were more than nine times more likely to be within an acceptable range when making their choice for the drawing that represented their child. Mothers with normal weight children were also likely to be very close to choosing the right drawing as well.

In addition to parental perception, Hager's study looked at how satisfied each of the mothers were with their child's growth rate and body size. While all of them rated their satisfaction as high, the number for mothers who were pleased with their overweight children's body size was even higher. Overall, seventy percent of the mothers said that they were satisfied or pleased with their children's weight but the number for mothers of overweight children who said the same thing was over eighty percent.

Body size perception and parental satisfaction are important indicators to possible, future obesity problems as the children continue to grow. A number of recent studies have shown that early childhood may set the stage for future weight risks especially if the mother of the child was unconcerned about that risk or were themselves overweight.

There are a number of possible reasons behind the glaring inaccuracies among the women, including an inability or an unwillingness to admit that their child is overweight or obese. Some of the women may not recognize their own weight issues. In a 2011 survey, nearly forty percent of overweight adults and twenty percent of obese adults stated that they did not know that they were overweight or how much overweight they were until they were told by a doctor. With obesity rates continuing to rise, experts are warning that the numbers could climb to well over forty percent of the entire population in the coming years. Childhood obesity is also continuing to rise, with a current number of 17% of children ages two to nineteen described as overweight or obese.


Street Talk

Remember when you could send the kids out to play with the neighbors without worrying about the neighbors hurting them? The food has changed, the people have changed, and the reality of growing up has changed. We are now starting to see the results of this lifestyle.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

"There are a number of possible reasons behind the glaring inaccuracies among the women, including an inability or an unwillingness to admit that their child is overweight or obese." As I was reading your article, I thought, "They must be denying, or lying, about the fact that their children are heavy." Why? Because perhaps they really aren't satisfied with their children's weight . . . although they claimed to be. I don't know. Again, a sad situation.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Too many of them think of their child's weight as some accomplishment. Ugh, just watch the Maury show when he has the big toddlers on. It is sad.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

More shocking data....Thank you for sharing. The ramifications of diabetes in a child is so much more serious than in that of an adult, yet since the symptoms come on slowly, now alarm bells are going off for the parents. If only they understood how serious diabetes is and that medicine won't make their child healthy....only healthy eating and exercise will. One by one, we can all tell the truth. Maybe parents will listen.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I hope so, but I worry about the ones that are being raised by mothers who are so defiant about the topic. They are sensationalized on talk shows but the attitudes are not only all too sad and real, but all too common as well. My friend is very overweight but will do nothing to help herself. Her daughter is as well and even though she wants to do something, it is hard to make those changes when the rest of the family has decided they are happy with being very large couch potatoes.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Your final statement is the one that breaks my heart each and every day. The children have NO SAY in the food that is brought into the house. If mom and dad are buying garbage food, we have no hope....none at all. Should this be considered a form of child abuse? Don't want to ruffle feathers? I'm just posing the question.

  
  about 1 decade ago

I have approached my friend at every angle- from gentle to absolutely letting her have it on her daughter's behalf. She doesn't get it. Her daughter is miserable - and being bullied but to my friend, it is the fault of everyone else and has nothing to do with weight. But it does! If this girl, who is 14 years old was doing more on her own to lose weight, I would say YES ! it's child abuse, but she doesn't make a lot of effort on her own. And, she has other options for where she eats including her grandmother's. As part of my own health efforts I have minimized the amount of time I spend talking to her.

  
  about 1 decade ago
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