Many parents have 'weight blindness' when it comes to their children, with thousands of parents unable to spot that their child is either overweight or obese. A recent study published in the 'British Journal of General Practise' surveyed almost 3000 families and found that only four parents classed their child as overweight.
The study raises some interesting points that warrant further study. Whilst many families were guilty of an inability to recognise excessive weight in their children, this was more likely to happen for specific groups. Those most at risk included families from a black or south Asian heritage or those from poorer backgrounds.
The study is alarming and shows the scale of the obesity crisis that we face. According to the NCMP, 28% of children between the ages of 2 and 15 were either overweight or obese. If the findings of this study are to be believed, then thousands of overweight children are at risk of further weight gain due to their situation not being recognised properly at home.
This has been an issue that the government has tried to tackle via numerous public health campaigns. Whilst some positive steps may have been made in improving school meals, little has been done in addressing obesity in the home.
So what options are available? Many health experts argue that rather than solely relying on awareness campaigns, there should be more enforcement actions on a social level. Many ideas have been mooted, such as banning fast food outlets near schools and offering home assistance to parents with children suffering from excessive weight.
This study potentially opens the door to a more targeted approach to public health campaigns aimed at tackling childhood obesity. One of the lead researchers of the study stated 'measures that decrease the gap between parental perceptions of child weight status and obesity scales used by medical professionals many now be needed to help parents better understand the health risks associated with excessive weight'.
Find out more about this study by clicking here.