With the overwhelming reports in the media about the growing rate of childhood obesity, it appears that some parents of preschoolers and their physicians are reluctant to talk about weight. Reports indicate that pediatricians may be concerned about offending parents and that parents may not perceive their youngster as being overweight or that "baby fat is cute." In lieu of the fact that overweight children are at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease, as well as obesity as an adult, the time has come to bridge the communication gap on preschool weight.
Researchers at the University of South Florida and Johns Hopkins University conducted a study in which one in three preschoolers were overweight or obese. More than half of the parents of the children with obesity reported that their child's weight was "about right." Eighty-nine percent of the parents of overweight children and 45% of the parents of obese children underestimated their child's weight. The vast majority of the parents in the study reported that they would value their pediatrician's advice about the problem. Weight, although it may be an uncomfortable subject, is an essential part of monitoring childhood growth and development, as well as risk for adult disease. Now that it's out in the open, let's talk about your child's weight!