Parents rate their corpulent children as 'very healthy'

posted on 23 Jul 2014 14:05 by tawdryrainbow4632

"Parents have a hard time shifting their kid's dietary and physical activity behaviors," said lead author Kyung Rhee, MD, and an assistant adjunct professor in the Department of Pediatrics. "Our study tells us what factors may be connected with a parent's motivation to help their child become more healthy."

The study relies on a survey of 202 parents whose kids were registered in a obesity clinic at the Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island in 2008 and 2009. The survey probed parents' readiness to take actionable measures to improve their child's eating habits and physical activity levels. The children ranged in age from 5 to 20 years old, having an average age of 13.8 years. More than two thirds were female, and nearly all (94 percent) were clinically classified as overweight.

Although most of the children have been referred to the obesity practice by a primary care provider and had metabolic markers of obesity, 31.4 percent of parents perceived their kid's health as excellent or very good and 28 percent didn't perceive their child's weight as a health concern.

Parents suggested a greater interest in helping their kid eat a healthy diet than supporting the pediatrician-recommended hour of daily physical activity.

Both diet and exercise are considered keys to good health, and a growing body of evidence suggests that these health habits are formed early in life.

Parents who had talked with their primary care physician about healthy eating strategies were more inclined to be in the "action phase of change" with their kid's diet. By comparison, parents who viewed their own battle as a health problem with weight were less likely to be addressing their kid's eating habits.

The researchers said income, instruction and race/ethnicity had no statistically significant impact on a parent's likelihood of making their kid dietary changes.

In regard to physical activity, researchers have no idea why parents seem to accentuate its role in good health, but the finding is consistent with other recent studies that suggest America's youth are mostly out-of-shape and sedentary, replacing playtime with "screen time."

Pros say one strategy to counteract the tendency may be to intervene early. Parents with children 14 or older were considerably less likely to want to become successful in helping their child acquire a physical dimension with their life than parents of younger children.

Poverty may also play a role in how much children move as parents with yearly incomes of less than $40,000 were also less likely to be actively engaged in ensuring their child got routine exercise.

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