Most Mothers Believe Their Toddlers Weigh Less Than They Actually Do
May 7, 2012 - 5:31:08 PM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Mothers of overweight toddlers do not perceive their toddlers as overweight and are highly satisfied with their body size, suggesting that they view heavy as normal, found one study. Mothers of underweight toddlers had accurate perceptions of their toddlers’ body size, but were dissatisfied, according to the study by Erin R. Hager, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
“These findings are very concerning,” says Dr. Hager. “Both parental perceptions of a child’s body size and how satisfied a parent is with their child’s size are likely to influence how parents feed their children. Parents who desire for their child to be larger, even if the child is a healthy weight (or overweight) may overfeed their child, increasing the toddler’s risk for obesity later in life. Parents of overweight children who perceive their children as being a healthy size may be unlikely to follow guidelines to prevent overweight. The next step in our research is to determine how to help parents adopt behaviors that promote healthy growth.”
The results indicates that health care providers need new strategies in addressing weight with families, Dr. Hager adds. “This research suggest that pediatric providers should plot and discuss toddler weight status with families of all toddlers, emphasizing parents’ roles in building healthy dietary and lifestyle habits for the family,” she explains. “The toddler silhouette scale is a helpful tool that could be used in a clinical setting to gage parents’ accuracy and satisfaction with their child’s body size, thus guiding counseling strategies.”
In Tough Economy, WIC Helps Ease Negative Health Consequences Associated With Stressed Families
Research Shows Value of WIC in Relieving Food Insecurity and Lowering Children’s Health Risk
As family stresses such as food insecurity and maternal depression increase, children’s health risks increase, found another study from University of Maryland researchers. Participation in WIC reduces, but does not eliminate, the negative health consequences associated with stressed families, according to the study by Maureen M. Black, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
“The building blocks that support children throughout life are formed during their early years. Disparities associated with household food insecurity and caregiver depressive symptoms disrupt these building blocks and can compromise children’s health, resulting in lifelong negative consequences to their health and well-being,” says Dr. Black.
“Evidence presented here illustrates that family stress is associated with child health risks and that WIC attenuates both family stress and the child health risks associated with household family stress,” Dr. Black explains. “To reduce disparities and promote children’s health, WIC is an excellent investment. The next steps are to examine why some WIC-eligible families do not participate in the program and to examine innovative strategies of implementing nutritional counseling.”
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