Evidence suggests that parents are really bad at telling when their kids are unhealthily overweight — a case of parent-goggles that can lead to serious health problems. New research in Child Obesity takes this depressing finding a step further: Not only are parents bad at this, but they’re getting worse.
Researchers from New York University School of Medicine compared the results of two surveys — one from 1988-1994 and the other from 2007-2012. Says Singal:
The surveys’ data allowed the researchers to assess what percentage of parents appeared to be deluded about their kids’ weight, and Duncan and his colleagues found that in both surveys, the vast majority of parents of overweight kids saw their kids’ weight as healthy (95 percent or higher in both), and in the most recent survey as high as 78.4 percent of parents of obese (that is, even more overweight) kids didn’t think their kids’ weight was unhealthy. Overall, when the researchers fully crunched the numbers, they found that the “probability of being appropriately perceived by the parents declined by 30% between surveys.”
All of us as parents harbor delusions about lots of things concerning our children — and ourselves. It’s human nature, don’t you think?