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Perception Deception: Mothers and Obesity


Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 22/04/2016. Perception Deception: Mothers and Obesity


A recent study run by the University of Houston in Texas shows that mothers may not recognise obesity in their children or shrug it off as a phase that they will grow out of.

The study, entitled "Low-Income Immigrant Hispanic Mothers' Concerns and Perceptions of Their Young Child's Weight", found that over 54% of mothers with obese children thought their child was "about the right weight".

“It is difficult to decrease the childhood obesity prevalence rates if parents are not able to accurately detect that their children are overweight or obese,” Hernandez said.

“They may perceive that their child will not have weight problems in the future once he grows taller or becomes older, but the situation clearly requires an intervention that explains and promotes a healthy lifestyle.”

Owing to the 'mentality that a chubby baby is a healthy baby' mothers who felt that their child was in poor health were more likely to underestimate their weight.

Hernandez comments,

 “In these cases, mothers seem to link ‘health’ with ‘weight.’ They may believe that more weight is needed to help improve the child’s health”

Hernandez believes that with proper instruction from healthcare providers, mothers will be able to adequately equate the health of their child without using weight as an anchor:

“Health care practitioners can assist by explaining how a child’s weight and height are used to calculate a body mass index,” she said. “They also can discuss the health problems that go along with being overweight or obese, like type 2 diabetes or hypertension.”  


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