By Jordan Wilson
New US government data suggest a non-medical cause of America’s childhood obesity crisis: denial.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 per cent of obese boys and 36 per cent of obese girls think their weight is “about right”. Among kids and teens who were merely overweight, 81% of boys and 71% of girls also judged their weight to be “about right”.
The figures are based on interviews with American children who were between the ages of 8 and 15 from 2005 through 2012. As part of the CDC’s ongoing National Health and Nutritonal Examination Survey, they had their height and weight measured and they answered questions from interviews. Among them: “Do you consider yourself now to be fat or overweight, too thin or about the right weight?”
Overall, 30.2% of the kids gave an answer that wasn’t in line with their actual body mass index. That corresponds to about 9.1 million American kids who have the wrong idea about their weight status.
Roughly 20% of these kids had a healthy weight but mistakenly thought they were either too thin or too fat. But the overwhelming majority were low-balling their weight.
Researchers documented a similar problem in adults back in 2010, though they called it “body size misperception” in a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Parents can also be wrong about the weight status of their kids. A 2012 study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reported that about two-thirds of low-income mothers incorrectly believed their toddlers were too small.
Last month, researchers from the University of California, San Diego, and Brown University reported that 31 per cent of parents whose children were being treated in a hospital obesity clinic thought their kids’ health was “excellent” or “very good”. That study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Original news article was posted on The Age: World.