Study: Parents Don\’t View Obesity as Serious Medical Issue


Obesity affects between 15 and 30 percent of American children, but a new study shows that many parents do not consider obesity to be a medical issue on par with other conditions like diabetes, asthma, or learning disabilities.

The study, conducted by Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, found that only 54 percent of parents say they would seek medical attention for an overweight child, whereas 81 percent would do so for diabetes symptoms, 80 percent for asthma, and 74 percent for learning difficulties.

"Despite the attention on the obesity epidemic, the disconnect found among parents regarding the long term outcomes associated with childhood obesity is concerning," said Sarah Hampl, MD, medical director, Weight Management Services at Children's Mercy, in a statement. "Obese children have both immediate and future health problems, including hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. The survey illustrates that parents need help connecting the dots between having an overweight child and what their future health consequences may be."

Notably, the study also found that 80 percent of parents believe they have the greatest potential to combat obesity, though nearly 60 percent said schools can have a great impact by offering healthy lunch choices and teaching children healthy eating habits.

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