Health chiefs say mothers with overweight children are in denial. According to a major survey by Britain’s National Health Service, nine out of ten mothers with children who are overweight believe they are “normal”.
Meanwhile, four in ten women whose children are actually classifed as obese, believe they are the right weight. The results suggest that parents are partly to blame for the current obesity crisis facing Britain’s children. Children themselves were also asked about their weight, and four in ten who were overweight or obese said they thought they were about the right weight.
The latest research follows stark warnings from Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, who said that being fat had become “normalised” because of levels of obesity and she urged parents to stop handing out unhealthy snacks.
Figures have been released following NHS Digital’s Health Survey for England, which looked at more than 8,000 adults and nearly 6,000 children. The research found that the weight of an average man now stands at 13st 5lbs today, compared to 12st 7lbs 20 years ago. The average woman, meanwhile, weighs 11st 3lbs now, compared with 10st 8lbs two decades ago.
More than two thirds of adults and 28 per cent of children were classed as being either overweight or obese. Only 22 per cent of children did the recommended hour of exercise each day. Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said it was about time parents woke up to reality for the sake of their children.
He said that most parents had no perception of what normal weight should be, adding: “Doting mothers are only too willing to believe that their kids are not part of that fat crowd. But it’s a belief that is misplaced.”
Professor Neena Modi from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health described the findings as greatly concerning, saying that parents and society as a whole were becoming oblivious to obesity because it was so widespread.