Study – Many parents of overweight kids believe their children are ‘just right’
A new study finds many, many parents of overweight kids believe their children's appearance is, "just right."
The survey comes from NYU Langone Medical Center. According to the study, 95 percent of parents of overweight kids are okay with their kids' appearance. Twenty years ago, a similar survey showed that parents of that era also had the same perceptions about their overweight children.
"That's what we have become accustomed to, regardless of health," New Jersey nutritionist and physiologist Felicia Stoller said. Stoller says she also has a problem with our acceptance of larger sizes of people, "because that's what we have become accostomed to, regardless of health has become acceptable in this country."
According to Stoller, She also says, "the biggest problem is that most parents are overweight."
"So they look at their kids and they think that their kids look just great because they look just like them. And that is absolutely a disservice that we do for our children," Stoller said. "I think that it is much easier to just say everything seems fine when the data, as far as we know as regards to outcomes, does not support that."
Stoller said on the one hand, it is good to feel good about oneself and not want parents to be "super judgemental" of their children to the point where they develop other issues. But she also said it's important for parents to teach children about living a healthy lifestyle.
"I think recognizing that being overweight or being obese is a real health problem is very important and critical for giving our kids a foundation for a healthy life," Stoller said.
Dustin T. Duncan, an assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone, who led the research, said we have changed the perceptions of what our weight ideals are. Duncan said most parents can no longer tell what a healthy weight looks like and their doctors "aren't helping them understand."
"If every other child is obese or overweight, you would think your child is normal as well," Duncan said.
This survey showed similar results to the one done with parents 20 years ago. Researchers concluded there is little chance of any child getting a fair judgement of their true appearance, healthy or otherwise. Stoller suggests by avoiding a judgement call on children's appearance, "we're setting them up for failure, and disease."
Felicia Stoller says at the end of the day, it is about personal responsibility
"We can choose to eat more fruits and vegetables. This is the Garden State. All of our farms are going to start producing a lot of produce, very soon. I highly urge people to be eating more of that," Stoller said. "We have great parks. The beaches are going to be open soon. Get out and walk. It doens't have to be crazy. But we just really have to get out and do the things that we need to do in oder to be healthier Americans."