Is Your Toddler Overweight? Most Moms Can’t Tell

174

Credit: Baby in high chair via Shutterstock

Is Your Toddler Overweight? Most Moms Can’t Tell

Mothers often don’t realize when their toddler is overweight, a new study suggests.

In theِ study, moreِ than two-thirds ofِ moms misjudged theِ size ofِ their toddlers, withِ mothers ofِ overweight children making theِ leastِ accurate judgments.
In fact, 94 percent ofِ mothers ofِ overweight children underestimated theirِ child’s true size, andِ at theِ sameِ time, manyِ of theseِ moms saidِ they wereِ satisfied withِ theirِ child’s weight.
The findings add toِ a growing body ofِ research suggesting parents oftenِ underestimate howِ heavy theirِ children reallyِ are.

Overweight toddlers

The study involved 281 mothers fromِ low-income households whoِ hadِ children betweenِ ages 12 andِ 32 months.
Mothers wereِ shown sevenِ silhouettes ofِ toddlers ofِ various sizes, andِ asked toِ choose theِ silhouette thatِ bestِ matched theirِ child.
About 30 percent ofِ children wereِ considered overweight byِ the researchers, based onِ a ratio ofِ the child’s weight andِ length.

Important role for doctors

The onlyِ real wayِ forِ parents toِ knowِ ifِ their child isِ overweight isِ to plot theirِ weight andِ length onِ a growth chart forِ their age, Hager said.
Children areِ considered overweight ifِ they fall inِ the 85th toِ 94th percentiles ofِ the growth charts, andِ obese ifِ they areِ in theِ 95th percentile orِ higher.
When doctors useِ theِ charts, theyِ tend toِ plot weight andِ height separately, andِ without bothِ pieces ofِ information, parents endِ up notِ knowing thatِ their child isِ aboveِ normal size forِ his age, Hager said.