Though doctors are doing better than they used to, the vast majority are still not telling the parents of overweight kids that their kids are overweight.
In a new study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (study), researchers asked the parents of close to 5,000 kids aged 2 – 15 years who were overweight if they’d ever been told by their pediatrician that their child was overweight. Overall, between 1999 – 2008, only 22 percent of parents recalled being told. The lowest percentage was in 1999, where only 19% recalled being told that their child was overweight, while the highest was in 2008, where 29% recalled being told.
The ten percentage point improvement over a decade is heartening but doesn’t mask that well over two-thirds of parents with overweight kids in 2008 couldn’t recall being told by their pediatrician that their kids were overweight.
With the obesity epidemic hitting tragic proportions – and overweight in kids becoming more and more of a societal norm – it becomes increasingly important for health care providers to help parents understand the full health status of their kids, which includes a true, if at times unsettling, assessment of their weight. This gives parents further opportunity to intervene and steer their kids in the direction all parents want: toward a life of good health.