More than 96% of parents of overweight preschoolers and 79% of parents of obese youngsters believe their child is the “right” size, say researchers at New York University and two other medical centers. A new study in the research journal Childhood Obesity compared parental perceptions to those of two decades ago, and found that while proportionally far more kids are clinically overweight or obese these days, the vast majority of parents believe their kids’ weight is “just about right.”
The stat is obviously worrisome—so much so that David Katz, M.D., the editor-in-chief of Childhood Obesity and a Yale physician, has coined a new phrase for what our generation of parents apparently suffers from: oblivobesity. But when it comes to the ages of the kids in question in this particular study—2- to 5-year-olds—it’s also, admittedly, relatable. I have one child who has a slightly high BMI, and yet is super-active, happily eats a wide range of fruits and veggies, and doesn’t really look overweight. It’s hard to imagine he has a “problem”—at least one that won’t shake out as he grows.
Wanting some perspective, I spoke to Julie Kardos, M.D., a Philadelphia pediatrician and one-half of Two Peds in a Pod, the blogging team who serves on Happy Healthy Kids’ advisory board. She shares her thoughts about “oblivobesity,” why we shouldn’t tell kids they need to “lose weight,” and a wake-up call when it comes to kids’ portion control.