A number increase of 70 million of infants and kids with overweight by 2025
Child obesity is a big public health problem. It is estimated that in 2016, more than 41 million kids less than 5 years old in the world had overweight or obesity. If it keeps at this rate, by 2050 there will be 70 million infants and kids with overweight. Alarming figures that show the amount of kids that can keep being obese in their adulthood and with more possibilities of suffering diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, some kinds of cancer, and even disability.
The American Academy of Pediatrics highlights the importance of the parents in preventing child obesity. It is sustained that the intervention of parents tend to be successful. All this requires the parents to be aware and worry for their children’s health. If parents cannot or do not want to acknowledge their children have overweight or if this do not preoccupy them, it is possible that they lack the necessary motivation to take a stand in this problem.
Research indicates the mother’s accurate overweight perceptions of their children’s weight resulted in a higher weight loss compared with the mothers which children’s overweight was perceived incorrectly. A meta-analysis where the parental underestimation was analyzed, showed that more than half of parents do not know the obesity or overweight of their children, and 1 out of 7 underestimated their normal weight. It was determined that parents believe their children will get taller and lose their excess weight and that it indicates good parenting and nurture.
Parents’ underestimation and a lack of concern can prevent parents to take actions on controlling the weight of their kids but it can also influence directly on kids making them think their weight is normal and thus participating on obesogenic behavior. Healthy food selection for infants and kids is very important because during early childhood children need to build healthy habits. Breastfeeding is exclusively from birth to six months old; breastfeeding is important to help prevent infants to become obese.
It is necessary to highlight the importance of pediatricians in evaluating weight in kids and share the results with parents in an easy way to understand. The role of parents and specialists is crucial and they can change and improve healthy lifestyles at a young age.
Reviewers: Brenda Giselle Álvarez Rodríguez (Public Health Research Unit), and Cassandra Saldaña Pineda (Knowledge Management Unit).
- Article: “Parental Underestimates of Child Weight: A Meta-analysis”. American Academy of Pediatrics. Marzo 2014, Volumen 133 / ISSUE 3.