What You May Not Know About Your Child’s Health

Would you know if your child was obeseMost parents know that childhood obesity is a huge issue in Michigan (one out of every three children ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese in the state—enough to fill up Ford Field almost seven times). But being aware of the general issue is different than being able to know when your own son or daughter is at risk.

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics showed that three-fourths of overweight children have parents who judge their kid’s weight as “just right.” Even parents of obese children have a hard time seeing the truth: Thirty-seven percent of obese boys and 33 percent of obese girls were seen as normal-weight by their moms and dads.

That might explain why some states require schools to weigh students and why some of those schools send letters home if a child is in an unhealthy weight range. Sometimes referred to as “fat report cards,” these letters aren’t always welcomed by parents, who might feel defensive or judged by school administrators. But the intentions behind them are good: To inform parents who might be in denial and to encourage them to talk to their children and their pediatrician about the issue.

Why does it even matter whether or not a parent knows their child is overweight or obese? Because if parents don’t think their child has a weight issue, they aren’t going to be motivated to do anything about it. And there is plenty a parent can do. From encouraging a love for sports to teaching wholesome eating habits, parents have a huge amount of influence on the health of their children. And tackling a weight issue early on can mean all the difference in whether or not an overweight child grows up to be an overweight adult (with all the health issues that accompany it).



Photo credit: Phalinn Ooi

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