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1 in 4 U.S. Kids Underestimate Their Weight, Study Finds
Date:7/31/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 31, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many obese and overweight kids don't see themselves that way, which makes achieving a healthy weight almost impossible, researchers report.

In a new study, 27 percent of children and teens underestimated their weight. Fewer than 3 percent overestimated it. About 25 percent of parents underestimated their child's weight and just 1 percent overestimated it, according to the study.

"Efforts to prevent childhood obesity should incorporate education for both children and parents regarding the proper identification and interpretation of actual body weight," said lead researcher Han-Yang Chen, from the department of quantitative health sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass.

"Interventions for appropriate weight loss should target children directly because one of the major driving forces to lose weight comes from the child's perception of their weight," he said.

The report was published July 31 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

Dr. William Muinos, director of the weight management program at Miami Children's Hospital, said, "I see weight misperception all the time."

Parents don't understand why their child is overweight or obese, he said. Parents think their child has a glandular problem or they will outgrow obesity. "That's nonsense, because obese kids are likely to stay obese," Muinos said.

Children can misperceive their weight if all the people they see are obese or overweight, he said. "If everyone you're around in your family and your social world is obese or overweight, then you are one big happy family. And you see that in our country," Muinos explained.

For the study, Chen's team used data from the 2007 to 2008 and 2
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