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Study: Parents may not recognize child weight issues

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Everyone loves a chubby baby, but when is ‘baby fat’ not ‘baby fat’ anymore? New research says many parents do not recognize their kids are overweight.

The research was done in the United Kingdom and found parents have a hard time perceiving a weight problem in their child unless that child is extremely obese.

Pediatrician Mike McKenna with Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health said a lot of parents remember growing out of their childhood chubbiness and believe that will happen with their kids as well, but Dr. McKenna says far too often we end up the way we start out.

He recommended using their body mass index as an indicator. That combines a person’s age, gender, height, and weight to determine if someone is underweight, healthy, overweight, or obese. Anything above an 18 is considered overweight. You can use a body mass index calculator to determine that figure.

Dr. McKenna said it’s important to teach a healthy lifestyle early on. He recommended kids should get sweaty for at least 30 minutes every day. Also, limit sugar-added drinks and promote fruits and veggies, portion control, and large amounts of water in your child’s diet. Dr. McKenna said changes to diet should be a family affair, so that a child doesn’t feel singled out.

“Just like you try to teach your child other things to do like how to cross the street, how to write their name, how to ride a bike, how to navigate the world safely, we also want to teach them even from an early age, how to manage food,” Dr. McKenna said.

The study added that some people are genetically prone to gaining weight more than others, so it’s important for those parents to be particularly conscious of their children’s diets and physical activity.