Nearly 2/3 of parents underestimate their children's weight, and half of parents do not recognize that their children are overweight or obese, reports a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.
For the study, "Parental Underestimates of Child Weight: A Meta-analysis," a team of researchers reviewed 121 published studies containing more than 80,000 estimates of a child's weight by his or her parent. The researchers concluded that "half of parents underestimated their children's overweight/obese status and a significant minority underestimated children's normal weight."
The results are surprising to many people, given the widespread concern over children's health and high-profile measures - by Michelle Obama and others - to start healthy behaviors early.
The idea that many people don't notice overweight children in our famously fat-phobic society seems absurd. After all, aren't all Americans constantly judging themselves and others over every unwanted ounce?
Actually, no. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and more women than men are obese, yet fewer than 1/4 are dieting at any given time. Only a minority of Americans eat a healthy diet, and fewer than 1/3 get regular exercise.