There is an elephant in the room and it seems like some of us are denying it. As our nations becomes more obese, being overweight appears to becoming the norm. A recent survey found that many Americans whose children are obese do not see them that way. It seems that a startling number of parents are in denial about their youngsters' weight.
This is very worrisome as obese children run the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems and other ailments more commonly found in adults. In addition, overweight children are more likely to grow up to be overweight adults.
In a survey of 2,060 adults, conducted over the summer by Internet research firm Knowledge Networks, researchers collected height and weight measurements on the children from their parents, then used that to calculate body mass index. When a child's BMI was higher than the 95th percentile for children who are the same age and gender, the child was considered obese.
Based on what the parents reported, 15 percent of the children ages 6 to 11, and 10 percent of the children ages 12 to 17, were obese. But, among parents with an obese, or extremely overweight, child ages 6 to 11, 43 percent said their child was "about the right weight," 37 percent responded "slightly overweight," and 13 percent said "very overweight." Others said, "slightly underweight."
For those with an obese child ages 12 to 17, the survey found more awareness that weight was a problem. Fifty-six percent said their child was "slightly overweight," 31 percent responded "very overweight," 11 percent said "about the right weight" and others said "slightly underweight."
Dr. Matthew M. Davis, a University of Michigan professor of pediatrics and internal medicine who led the study said, "Obesity isn't just something that affects the clothes that you buy or how you are perceived by your friends and your schoolmates, it is something that can have health effects, not only in adulthood but in childhood."
We can not fix, what we deny. We can no longer ignore the elephant in the room. Especially one that is this big, still growing and has the potential to cause so many problems.