updated - June 14, 2021 Monday EDT
Many parents of obese children don't view their children as being overweight or unhealthy, according to a new study.
New research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also found those parents often resist lifestyle changes that encourage their children to develop healthy eating and exercise habits early on in their lives.
"Parents have a hard time changing their child's dietary and physical activity behaviours," said lead author Kyung Rhee, an assistant adjunct professor at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in the US.
The study is based on a survey of 202 parents whose children were enrolled in an obesity clinic at the Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island in 2008 and 2009.
The study is based on a survey of 202 parents whose children were enrolled in an obesity clinic at the Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island in 2008 and 2009. The survey probed parents' readiness to take actionable steps to improve their child's eating habits and physical activity levels. The children ranged in age from 5 to 20 years old, with an average age of 13.8 years. More than two-thirds were female, and almost all (94 percent) were clinically classified as obese.
"These parents may have tried making dietary changes in the past and were not effective, or felt overwhelmed by the situation and no longer felt capable of making changes," the authors write in the study. "Previous studies have shown that a parent's ability to lose weight and make nutritional changes is highly correlated with the child's ability to make similar changes."
"Additional attention should be paid to whether parents view their own weight or their child's weight as a health problem, because these factors can detract a parent's readiness to make behavioral changes in either domain," the authors conclude.
The study appeared online in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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