New research out of Britain reveals, many parents tend to see their overweight or obese children as normal, and the kids themselves tend to underestimate their own weight. Such perceptions could lead to significant health problems - such as diabetes - for those kids, the researchers say.
"I asked children and parents whether they recognized when they were overweight," said lead author Alison N. Jeffery, a senior research nurse from the Early Bird Survey at Derriford Hospital in England.
Among the 300 children in the Early Bird Survey, 62 percent of those who were overweight underestimated their own weight, Jeffery said. And among the parents, "up to three-quarters didn't realize when their overweight child was overweight," she added.
Parental views of a child's obesity, she added, were just as striking, reports forbes.com
According to kansascity.com one study found that more than half of eighth-graders have at least one contributing factor for developing diabetes.
"We're looking at eighth-grade students in three states, and across the board, they are at risk for (eventually developing) diabetes and cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Francine Kaufman from Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.
The condition has become a top concern, afflicting more than 18 million Americans, including about 200,000 who are younger than 20. Most have a form called type 2 diabetes, which used to strike older people after many years of poor eating and lack of exercise.
But as the number of overweight children has grown, doctors have noted an alarming rise of type 2 diabetes in young people. Diabetes, which hampers how the body processes sugar, can lead to blindness, amputations, heart disease, stroke and other complications.
In the study of American eighth-graders, researchers found that more than half of the 1,740 kids studied in Texas, North Carolina and California had at least one serious risk factor for diabetes.
Almost 50 percent of the kids were overweight. About 41 percent of the children had high levels of sugar and 36 percent had high levels of insulin - two signs that diabetes could take hold.
Childhood obesity in the USA looks significantly worse than previously believed, suggests the largest assessment ever of public school students. The state will send letters home to parents this summer. If the child is reported to be overweight, parents will be advised to ask their doctor whether it is a problem, Thompson says.
In some cases, really muscular kids may not actually be overweight, he says. "One in four of our high school boys are overweight and some of them may have the muscles of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but most clearly have a problem with obesity," he says. Parents of overweight kids are advised to reduce the children's TV time, increase their physical activity and suggest low-calorie beverages, informs usatoday.com