Is this the reason your grandchildren are fat? 49



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Are parents blind when it comes to the weight of their children? Christina Pollard from Curtin University says ‘yes’. She has just published a study that found only 8 per cent of parents were able to identify that their children were, in fact, overweight.

She found the vast majority of parents through of the extra weight their kids were carrying was harmless “puppy fat” and that it was totally normal for children to have a little extra padding; that they’d “grow out of it”.

More than one in five of the children in the study were overweight (22 per cent) but more than half of their parents said they planned to “do nothing” about it.

Ms Pollard believes parents are getting so used to seeing overweight children – and adults – in our society that they have a distorted view of what a healthy weight actually looks like.

“Our findings suggest that as the mean BMI continues to increase, so, too, will perceptions of a heavier ‘healthy’ body weight. This is a problem because correct perception of overweight or underweight is essential to prompt action and early intervention,” she said.

“Being overweight or obese in childhood can lead to developmental, mental health and physical health problems,” Dr Pollard said. “Parents who correctly perceived their child’s weight status as overweight or very overweight typically intervened, whereas most parents who were unaware did not.”

This story has gained a lot of attention since it aired on Sunrise this morning, with people taking to Facebook to share their thoughts, with many blaming parents for their own diets, and saying they are “irresponsible”.

One commentator posted a picture of children in the 1980s with the comment, “Look, no fat kids or adults. We had a healthy lifestyle and not so lazy parents back then. No bloody excuses for child neglect.”

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Why do you think parents are blind to their child’s weight? Are your grandchildren overweight and are you worried about them? Do you feel you can say something or is it a “no go zone”?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I think there are many reasons that so many kids are now obese. Lazy being the biggest factor in both child and parents. Sitting in front of TV and computers. No longer walking to school for fear of something happening to them. Fast food everywhere. The list goes on. And yes it’s now almost the norm to see overweight people everywhere you go

    2 REPLY
    • I agree with everything you have said Sue and reason behind it is, the pressure put on families to have two incomes coming in, and therefore parents say they haven’t the time to prepare healthy foods and take the easy way and opt out for simple meaning “junk” food. And also they haven’t the time to exercise because they are too busy working. When we were young we had homemade delicious goodies and meals because only one parent was working. I believe parents are neglecting their children’s nutrition,and all said and done, it’s child abuse. Unless there’s a medical reason why they are obese, a little fat is ok.

    • Nic I agree that many households have both parents working however I worked full time and I always home cooked our food as did my coworkers. I think it is a change in culture in that fast food is so readily available and somehow it is more acceptable to eat fast food.

  2. It’s easier to buy them junk food than cooking a lovely fresh healthy meal, because a lot of parents have no idea anymore on good basic home meals

  3. I do believe the key to healthy children is not to supply them with anything to eat that comes in a wrapper. Over processed foods are loaded with sugars and salt. The food we buy in supermarkets are less nutritious than they ever have been. Basic cooking, raw organic foods, definitely no white bread or cut out wheat altogether which would do wonders to everyone’s health. Could go on and on

  4. Since parents feed the children what they eat and the parents are overweight then, of course, the children will be overweight and the parents are unlikely to notice it.

  5. Poor food choices. My son was a fussy eater do there was NO junk food in the home. If he was hungry there was always toast and vegemite. We are nothing that came from a packet all cooked from scratch. People today want things done in a hurry and don’t take the time to cook.

  6. If you live on a constant diet meaty, cheesy foods & no fruit & vegetables what do you expect plus enormous servings it is not rocket science. Common sense.

    1 REPLY
  7. I think soft drinks are the main culprit. When I was growing up a soft drink was a treat at Xmas or birthdays. I still rarely drink them.

  8. We teach them what they know. Convenience usually equate with take always, eat outs, processed food we buy and keep available at home. What is nice is usually not too healthy. Advertisements does not help. Comes down to choices we make.

  9. The pantry and fridge is full of over processed snack food , chips , chocolate bars ,etc etc . Meals are replaced to visits to McDonald’s , Burger King , Pizza Hut . Sitting at the table eating meat( chicken , lamb, beef ) 2 or 3 veg , some potato and water to drink has gone . The results are fat kids with mouths full of cavities , it’s not hard to see why it’s happening , overindulgence isn’t love

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