30 Mar, 2015

Parents rarely spot child obesity

BBC News website | James Gallagher | Health editor | 30 March 2015

Parents hardly ever spot obesity in their children, resulting in damaging consequences for health, doctors warn.

In a study of 2,976 families in the UK, only four parents thought their child was very overweight. Medical assessments put the figure at 369.

The researchers, writing in the British Journal of General Practice, said obesity had become the new normal in society.

Experts said the study showed the “enormity” of the obesity epidemic.

Around one in five children in Year 6 is obese and a further 14% are overweight, the National Child Measurement Programme shows.

Blind spot

The team, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Great Ormond Street Hospital, gave questionnaires to nearly 3,000 families asking if their child was obese, overweight, underweight or a healthy weight.

The results showed that nearly a third, 31%, of parents underestimated the weight of their child.