Obese Children Often Go Unnoticed By Family Doctors

Obese Children – Obesity is a growing epidemic among children and adults in the United States. It is a pediatricians job to track if youngsters are too heavy. However, according to a recent study less than a quarter of parents of overweight youngsters recall the doctor ever saying there was an issue with their kids weight.

So, are pediatricians not screening enough youngsters, or are they just not getting the point across to the parents? Or is the real issue that parents are in denial?

“It’s tricky to say, and it’s tricky to hear,” says lead researcher Dr. Eliana Perrin of the University of North Carolina. She analyzed government health surveys which included nearly 5,000 parents of overweight kids from 1999 to 2008.

When almost a third of U.S. kids are at least overweight, and about 17 percent are obese, it’s harder to notice that there’s anything unusual about their own families. Plus, they change as they grow older.

“About 30 percent of the parents of overweight 12- to 15-year-olds said a doctor had alerted them, compared with just 12 percent of the parents of overweight preschoolers. Even among the parents of very obese children, only 58 percent recalled a doctor discussing it,” according to the report published Monday by the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

“Many pediatricians don’t worry until children are very overweight, or until they’re much older,” says Perrin, whose team has created stoplight-colored growth charts to help doctors explain when a problem’s brewing.

It is a common practice for doctors to track kids’ height and weight during their yearly checkups. However, their more recent guidelines urge them to calculate the youngster’s body mass index, or BMI, to screen for developing obesity. Contrary to adults, one measurement alone doesn’t necessarily mean they are overweight. They could be about to go up in height.