Mothers of overweight toddlers misperceive their child’s weight

The Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog reports, “A new study of low-income mothers of toddlers has found that two-thirds did not correctly perceive their children’s size. Furthermore, “Most – including all of the misperceiving moms with kids who were overweight – thought their kids were too small, not too big.”

The study, which was published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found that “nearly 70% of the mothers did not identify their child’s body size accurately. These mothers had children who were larger on average than the children of accurate mothers.”

Reuters reports that the study examined some 280 women aged 18 to 46 in Baltimore, MD.

NPR “Shots” blog notes that “a roly-poly toddler strikes many mothers as the picture of health. But the road to obesity can start early in life, so it’s important to know whether the baby fat that lingers on a toddling child is a healthy cushion or a sign of too much food too soon.”

Medscape notes that the researchers write that “extremes in poor growth during toddlerhood, both underweight and overweight, affect child health and development over time. Excess weight gain before age 5 years can persist through adolescence, increasing the risk for obesity-related comorbidities later in life.”

According to MedPage Today, the researchers argue that “because these perceptions could lead to overfeeding and persistent weight problems through childhood and into adult life, pediatricians need to get an early jump on helping families understand what healthy looks like.”

HealthDay describes how the researchers found that “mothers of overweight toddlers were more than 88 percent less likely [than the mothers of normal-weight children] to accurately perceive their child’s body size,” according to the authors.

This entry was posted in General Health. Bookmark the permalink.