Mothers Often Don’t Think Their Children Are Obese

Mothers are more likely to recognize obesity in themselves than in their children, suggests a new study from the University of Limerick in Ireland.

Data was collected from a national sample of close to 8,000 mothers and their nine-year-old children.

Within the study, researchers objectively measured heights and weights of mothers and children. Then, in addition to estimating their own weight, mothers were asked to estimate and categorize their child’s weight. The category scale ranged from moderately or very underweight to moderately or very overweight.

Based on the responses, researchers found that 60 percent of mothers were accurate about their own obesity status, but only 17 percent accurately saw their child as being either “moderately” or “very” overweight. Mothers who were accurate about their own obesity, however, were more likely to be honest about their child’s obesity, compared to mothers who inaccurately categorized their own weight.

When parents don't acknowledge signs of obesity in their children, experts say it can result in the child remaining overweight through adolescence and into adulthood. The results of the study were different mothers and their daughters than mothers and sons--the mothers were less likely to think their daughters were overweight. 

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Sourced from: Reuters, Mothers may be unwilling to believe their children are obese