The Globe and Mail, 10/01/2012
Mounting research shows the majority of parents, as well as their children, have an inaccurate perception of what constitutes obesity. Studies have shown that children that register as overweight according to medical benchmarks, rarely consider themselves as such, and are rarely considered overweight by their parents. Few parents ever recognize their child has a serious weight issue, even if he or she is obese. A study in the Canadian Family Physician Journal found 63 per cent of parents with overweight children said their child’s weight was normal; 63 per cent of parents of obese children classified them as overweight. Doctors also have an important role to play. Too few of them speak to parents about their child’s weight or measure body–mass index and growth on a consistent basis, even though all the research points to the fact that early intervention is key to preventing a lifetime of health problems related to weight.
Commentary: In a Westernized city like Chandigarh, we are unfortunately aping the Obesity epidemic of the West faithfully. Easy access to junk food, lack of physical activity & excessive 'screen time' are all contributing to the worsening health status of our children. In India, this problem is even trickier to deal with since many parents and grandparents equate obesity with a child being 'healthy' and are unable to understand the concept of this being a problem at present / later. I do try to take time to explain the myriad consequences of obesity and provide a detailed growth chart with BMI values to each child, with special emphasis on the overweight ones. An ounce of prevention IS actually worth a pound of cure here !