Parents do not recognise that their children are overweight, survey finds

Most parents of overweight children in England think their weight is about right, raising fears obesity has been normalised. (Article published 14th December 2016, Guardian online).

The vast majority of parents of overweight children in England do not recognise the fact, the annual Health Survey for England 2015 has found, raising fears that high levels of obesity have normalised unhealthy weights.

Key findings included in the summary on Children’s body mass index, overweight and obesity reported that

  • The majority of overweight and obese children were not aware that they were too heavy. Only 26% of overweight, including obese children aged 8 to 15 described themselves as too heavy, compared with 41% who said that they were about the right weight.
  • Parents of overweight and obese children often thought that their child was the right weight. The majority of overweight children were described as being about the right weight by their mothers (91%) and fathers (80%). For obese children, 48% of mothers and 43% of fathers said their child was about the right weight. However, just over half of mothers (51%) and fathers (56%) of obese children described their child as too heavy.

A full set of the findings and data tables are available from NHS Digital.

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