USA TODAY US Edition
Perceptions of weight skewed
Mothers and kids in study heavier than they thought
Many heavyset moms and their kids think they’re slimmer than they are, a study finds.
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center in New York asked 111 women and 111 children a series of questions about their age, income and body size. They also measured their height and weight. About 80% were Hispanic.
They were shown pictures of body silhouettes representing a range of weights, including underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese and extremely obese.
Findings, reported Wednesday at an American Heart Association meeting in Atlanta:
-66% of the mothers were overweight or obese, and 39% of children were too heavy.
-Most obese women (82%) underestimated their weight when looking at the silhouettes; 42.5% of overweight women did the same. About 13% of normal-weight women thought of themselves as thinner than they were.
-Most overweight or obese kids (86%) underestimated their weight, compared with 15% of normal-weight children.
-47.5% of mothers with heavy children thought their kids were at a healthy weight.
Being overweight is becoming the norm in some families — which skews children’s perception of a healthy weight, says lead researcher Nicole Dumas, an internal medicine resident at Columbia.
— Nanci Hellmich