Obese kids don't view themselves as overweight, says CDC report

By Judy Mottl, Tech Times | July 23, 9:42 AM

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A good number of children who are overweight and obese have a misconception regarding their weight, claims new CDC data. That doesn't bode well for getting children to adopt healthier lifestyles, say researchers.
(Photo : Barbara Shallue)

A good majority of obese boys and girls believe their body weight is appropriate, reveals data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Just about 81 percent of obese boys and 71 percent of obese girls are incorrectly assessing their current body weight, according to a survey conducted for the CDC, called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The survey, conducted between 2005 and 2012, involved data on adolescents between the ages of 8 and 15. Overall, 30 percent of children considered obese, a figure which numbers about 9.1 million youngsters, are not correctly assessing weight status, according to the data.

"As our country gets heavier, children don't necessarily see it as abnormal," states Dr. Daniel Neides, medical director for the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the study.

The weight misperception is higher among boys than girls and more prevalent among non-Hispanic, African-American and Mexican-American children, states the report.

"People are very sensitive to weight and to growth charts, and [parents] will argue it hasn't been updated in years," said Neides. "We feel like young people are immortal and will be fine, and that population also doesn't see the long-term implications."

The data reveals younger children have a higher level of misperception than teens. That doesn't bode well given that accepting obesity is an important first step toward getting healthy, said the report's author, Neda Sarafrazi, a nutritional epidemiologist.

"When overweight kids underestimate their weight, they are less likely to take steps to reduce their weight or do additional things to control their weight, like adopt healthier eating habits or exercise regularly," Sarafrazi said.

"On the other hand, when normal weight or underweight kids overestimate their weight, they might have unhealthy weight-control behaviors," she added.

As Tech Times recently reported, obesity among young children may be leveling off, at least for those between the ages of 2 to 18, states a study, and there may actually be an improvement trend. The study, which reviewed data collected from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey as well, was published in the journal Pediatrics.

"Kids are not getting fatter. Abdominal obesity has been stable over the years," said Lyn Steffen, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

 

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