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Poll: Many Americans Don't See Their Kids as Overweight
Date:2/25/2013

poll agreed that it's important for their children to have eating and exercise habits that help them maintain or achieve a healthy weight, 44 percent of parents said it was difficult to make sure their children have a healthy diet and 36 percent of parents said it was a challenge to make sure their children get enough exercise.

The poll also found that between 3 p.m. and bedtime, 60 percent of children ate or drank something that can lead to unhealthy weight gain.

Parents listed a number of challenges they face in trying to help their children maintain or achieve a healthy weight: food advertising (43 percent); foods offered at lunch at school (33 percent); the costs of team sports, gym memberships or exercise equipment (33 percent); lack of good sidewalks near home (31 percent); too few places that serve healthy foods where children can spend time with friends (31 percent).

Seventy percent of children in the survey live in households where the family eats dinner together at home on a given night, but 24 percent of the families had the TV on during dinner, or someone used a cellphone, laptop or an iPod during dinner. Only 46 percent of the children live in homes where the family eats together without these distractions. Research suggests that meals without TV and other distractions are associated with lower obesity rates.

Nearly all -- 96 percent -- of the children in the survey had attended family events in the past year where foods with high levels of fat or sugar (such as chips, fried foods, fast foods and sweets) were served. Among those children, 48 percent live in homes where the parent feels that "family celebrations are a time to take a break from being concerned about eating in a way that can lead to unhealthy weight gain," the researchers found.

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