Doctors Doing Better but Still Avoiding Talks About Overweight Kids

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.

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