Parents are increasingly viewing their overweight kids as “healthy.”
Between 2005 and 2008, parents—mostly mothers—were more likely to say they viewed their overweight child as healthy, compared to parents surveyed between 1988 and 1994, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. The largest increases were seen among low income parents, followed by African Americans. These also happen to be groups at a higher risk for obesity.
What’s troubling is that parents often judge their child’s weight based on how he or she measures up to their peers, suggesting that overweight is increasingly the norm, the researchers say. As Americans get heavier, the new study suggests, perceptions of what’s healthy becomes distorted.
“We rarely compare our weight status against an absolute scale or a number recommended by doctors,” says study author Dr. Jian Zhang of Georgia Southern University. “Instead we compare to what our friends, neighbors, and coworkers…
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