Parents struggling to spot signs that their children are overweight, survey reveals

A worrying number of parents of overweight children in England think that their youngsters are a healthy weight, a new survey has found.

Figures uncovered from a Health Survey for England study published last month by NHS Digital, reveal that parents are struggling to pick up signs that their children are putting on weight.

Such findings are now raising fears that high levels obesity are normalising unhealthy weights.

The report into children’s health found that 85 per cent of dads thought their children were of a healthy weight, despite 52 per cent having obese kids.

Similarly, nearly 40 per cent of mums with obese children, aged between four and 15, were also in denial about their child’s size, The Sun reports.

The survey also found that obesity among children aged two to 15 was most common in the fifth of households with the lowest incomes. 

“The problem lies with parents being overweight themselves – it becomes the new ‘normal’,” said Tam Fry, chair of the National Obesity Forum.

“Parents also think their children’s weight isn’t obese as their friends are also in the same category and they don’t pick up changes.”

However, these findings are just the latest to support growing evidence that parents are struggling to recognise obesity in their children.

Previously a study at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the US found that half of parents with an overweight child were in denial about their child’s size – thinking they are slimmer than they actually are.

The research involved a review of 69 existing studies worldwide between 1990 and 2012, of more than 15,000 children aged two to 18. 

It found 51 per cent of parents with overweight or obese children underestimated their child’s size.


Reuse content