Our kids do not know what a normal weight is

October 28, 2014
About one-third of U.S. children are overweight, and about 17 percent of those kids are obese. A key public health goal is to promote weight loss and healthy weight maintenance, and in recent years some studies show the obesity epidemic among children and teens is leveling off or even declining.

However, a key obstacle in anti-obesity campaigns is kids’ own perceptions of normal weight. A recent study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that many kids ages 8 through 15 misperceive their own weight status—considering themselves either too fat or too thin. The survey of more than 6,100 kids found that 81 percent of overweight boys and 71 percent of overweight girls believed that they were the right weight. 

Almost half of obese boys and 36 percent of obese girls believe their weight is normal. The study is an eye-opener because efforts to help children and teens embrace a healthy weight is dependent on kids understanding what constitutes a healthy body weight, the authors noted. The study was published in the July issue of the National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief.

Find out your child’s body mass index by going online to Providence Health & Services’ website and using this simple calculator.