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One out of 2 parents do not see their child's weight problem
Date:3/13/2014

Susann Regber has worked for many years with children with obesity as a pediatric nurse. In her dissertation at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, she studied the parents' role in the health-promoting and disease-prevention work against child obesity in young children.

The research is a part of a European study that comprises a total of 16,220 children in the ages 2-9, of which 1,800 live in Partille, Alingss and Mlndal in Sweden.

Estimate the weight status

In Susann Regber's dissertation, the parents were asked to estimate their child's weight status and health, and to describe their own worries about their child's becoming overweight or underweight. The parents' perceptions were then compared with the children's actual measurements.

Among other findings, the studies show that:

  • Around 40 per cent of parents of children with both overweight and obesity are worried that the child will become underweight. Among parents of children who are already underweight, the proportion that are worried about it is 33 per cent.

  • One out of two parents of a child with overweight in Central and Northern Europe perceived their child's weight as normal. In Southern Europe, the same figure was 75 per cent.

Major significance

"How parents perceive their child's weight status is of major significance to being able to promote a healthy weight development. Our studies show that the parents' insight into obesity in their children indeed grows in pace with the child's age and higher BMI in the child, but also that a weight development at preschool age can go from overweight to obesity without necessary lifestyle changes being made," says Susann Regber, who is presenting the findings in her dissertation:

"Many parents simply do not see the increase in growth, and are dependent on objective information from, for instance, child welfare centers and school health care to
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Contact: Krister Svahn
krister.svahn@sahlgrenska.gu.se
46-031-786-3869
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert  

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