Kids today are fatter than ever before. About 1 in 3 of all children and adolescents in the U.S. are either overweight or obese. That's triple the obesity rate in the 1960s, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Yet parents often don't realize that they play a surprisingly big role in their child's growing waistline. Read on to find out how we're making our kids fat -- and what you can do to stop it.
Parents in Denial
Love is blind: Fewer than 13 percent of parents to overweight kids acknowledge that their child is currently overweight, according to a 2008 study from the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota. "Parents, who are often overweight themselves, can have a hard time recognizing their own child's weight issue," says pediatrician Ari Brown, M.D., author of Baby 411. Even if mom and dad do see the problem, they're often too scared to talk about it.
"Many parents fear that they'll cause their child to be weight-obsessed or develop an eating disorder, so parents ignore the problem," adds Joanna Dolgoff, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "But studies suggest that teaching healthy nutrition to overweight children decreases the incidence of eating disorders."