home
RSS
9 in 10 moms see overweight toddlers as normal
May 7th, 2012
04:01 PM ET

9 in 10 moms see overweight toddlers as normal

A mother's love usually makes for healthy and happy children, but in some cases it may be contributing to childhood obesity, a new study suggests.

In the study, researchers presented 281 mothers with cartoon drawings of toddlers ranging in size from scrawny to plump, and asked them to select the drawing that most closely resembled their child.

Nearly 70% of the women misjudged their toddler's body size, but the rate was much higher among the mothers of overweight children. Ninety-four percent of those mothers identified their child's size as being in the normal range, the study found.

Previous studies in older children have produced similar results. The new research, published this week in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, is the first to show widespread misperceptions of body size among the parents of toddlers.

Health.com: Is it baby fat or obesity?

As rates of overweight and obesity hover near historic highs, parents' views of what constitutes a normal, healthy weight may be skewed, says lead author Erin R. Hager, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in Baltimore.

The fact that chunky thighs and dimpled knees are widely seen as a sign of health and good parenting probably doesn't help either, Hager adds.

"Our society really values chubby infants and toddlers," she says.

Baby fat may be cute, but too much of it sharply increases a child's risk of being overweight later in life.

"A lot of parents don't understand that, even in infancy or toddlerhood, if your child is overweight then they won't necessarily grow out if it," Hager says. "There are certainly... kids that grow out if it, but most kids don't."

Health.com: 10 habits of healthy families

The toddlers in the study ranged in age from 12 to 32 months. Twenty-nine percent were considered overweight, meaning they were in the 85th percentile or above for their age group on World Health Organization growth charts.

The mothers of overweight toddlers were generally satisfied with their child's weight. Eighty-two percent indicated they had no desire for their child to be smaller, and 4% said they wanted their child to be even larger.

Two-thirds of the mothers in the study were living at or below the poverty line, and just over half were receiving food stamps under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Although childhood obesity rates tend to be higher in low-income populations, Hager says she'd expect to find the same misperceptions among more affluent mothers.

Health.com: As childhood obesity improves, will kids in poverty be left behind?

"Other studies of older children and adolescents that have taken place in mixed-income populations or middle-income populations have shown similar findings," she says.

Understanding how parents view their children's body size is important, Hager says, because moms and dads of overweight kids are less likely to help their children eat better and get more exercise if they don't think their child's weight is an issue.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011


soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Josie Breaker

    Earn 500 a Day With Our Passive Income System Doing These 3 Steps: Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from our Free 850 sources of traffic and start earning your income in same day.

    http://www.mediafire.com/file/0y7t99b95nz0kps/

    February 6, 2021 at 05:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. frolep rotrem

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    February 7, 2021 at 01:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. vreyro linomit

    I'm still learning from you, as I'm improving myself. I absolutely liked reading everything that is written on your blog.Keep the information coming. I liked it!

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    February 8, 2021 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. https://europa-road.eu/hu/vasuti-szallitmanyozas.php

    Superb blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I'd really love to be a part of online community where I can get responses from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks!

    https://europa-road.eu/hu/vasuti-szallitmanyozas.php

    February 9, 2021 at 04:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. https://shiatsu-web.com

    This is something New !

    https://maps.google.ch/url?q=https://shiatsu-web.com

    February 12, 2021 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Drive-20000 Google-Organic-Visitors

    1,000,000 GSA Live Backlinks High Quality SEO links + Bad Links Removal: https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842081/1-000-000-GSA-Live-Backlinks-High-Quality-SEO-links-Bad-Links-Removal

    https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842081/1-000-000-GSA-Live-Backlinks-High-Quality-SEO-links-Bad-Links-Removal

    February 16, 2021 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Leave a Reply to gholmom


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.