Parent’s Perceptions of their Children’s Weight May Be Counterproductive

Two studies recently looked at the relationship between parent’s perceptions of kids’ weight and  the children’s weight status. The first study found that if a parent believed his/her child was overweight (whether correctly or incorrectly), that child gained more weight. The second study showed that parents of obese or overweight children grossly underestimated how heavy their children actually were. Both of these studies demonstrate how parent’s perceptions can negatively impact their children’s weight and health status. First, when parents believe their child is overweight, they may inadvertently cause the child to eat more due to social stigmas and emotional issues. Second, when parents are unaware that their child is overweight or obese, they may not advocate healthy eating and exercise. Both sets of parents are affecting their children’s weight status and should learn to be more aware to prevent negatively  influencing their children.

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