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Half of mothers unable to recognise obesity in children

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A new report has revealed that the majority of parents do not even realise their four or five-year-olds are overweight or obese.

Half of the mothers who took part in a study believed that their obese child was a “normal” weight, while 39% of fathers were unable to recognise obesity.

The report, published in the February issue of Acta Paediatrica, also found that 75% of mothers and 77% of fathers thought that their overweight child was a normal weight.

More than 800 parents of 439 children took part in the study, carried out by researchers from the University Medical Centre Groningen in the Netherlands.

The study also showed that parents of overweight and obese children were significantly heavier than those of normal weight children, and the majority of adults were able to tell if they were overweight or obese themselves.

Professor Pieter Sauer from the Department of Paediatrics said: “It is vital that parents are aware of their children’s weight if we are to prevent them becoming obese in later life. Our findings point to the need for health education programmes that encourage parents to recognise what is a normal healthy weight for their children and work with health professionals to tackle any weight problems.”

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