News ID: 188631
Published: 0940 GMT March 03, 2017

Overweight mothers underestimate their children’s weight

Overweight mothers underestimate  their children’s weight

It’s not the case that overweight parents always bring up overweight children, but it’s also not uncommon.

And it’s now been proven that overweight mothers don’t often consider their children to be similarly overweight ― even when they are, The Independent wrote.

According to a new study by the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, overweight mothers underestimate the weight of their obese children.

The researchers studied 230 mothers of pre-school children (aged between three and five) in the US, and 41 percent of the mothers considered their overweight or obese children ‘about the right weight’.

Only 20 percent of overweight mothers correctly identified their children as overweight. And a mere three percent of mothers overestimated their child’s weight.

In order to reach their conclusions, the researchers asked the mothers to fill out a questionnaire about how they feed their child (including questions such as ‘Did he/she watch TV at meals?’ and ‘Did you feed him/her yourself if he/she did not eat enough?’) and reveal their perception of the child’s weight.

Both mother and child then had their height and weight measured.

But the researchers suggest healthy weight mothers may not have underestimated their children's weights in the same way.

“This study included only mothers who were overweight or obese, which may, in part, explain the high rate of underestimation,” lead author Rachel Tabak said.

“This is also concerning in the light of recent research showing children of obese mothers were less likely to recognize their own weight as well as that of their mother and therefore may be related to shifting attitudes toward weight status, where overweight is less recognized because of its prevalence.”

The researchers revealed they were inclined to undertake the study because little research has been done into how a parent’s perception of their child’s weight affects the healthy behavior they promote.


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