Running from reality: Kids don't know they're fat

Running from reality: Kids don't know they're fat
By now, you have heard the statistics: In 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But guess what? Many of them don’t know it.

      In recent years, the issue of obesity has come to the forefront, and first lady Michelle Obama routinely promotes healthy nutrition. The effort has paid off. Among children ages 2 to 5, obesity dropped to 8 percent from 14 percent a decade ago, according to a February 2014 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  
      Even so, children who are overweight or obese apparently don’t realize it, according to researchers with the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. 
      Here are six fundamental truths about children and obesity:  

1. About 30 percent of U.S. children and adolescents ages 8–15 “misperceive their weight status,” according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Many of these children are either overweight or obese.

2. Boys are more likely to delude themselves. Approximately 81 percent of overweight boys and 71 percent of overweight girls believe they are about the right weight.

3. Even children with more serious weight problems don’t realize that they are overweight. Among children specifically considered obese, 48 percent of boys and 36 percent of girls consider themselves to be about the right weight. (The CDC defines obesity with a body mass index that takes weight and height into account.)

4. Poor children are more likely to not understand their weight status. The prevalence of weight status confusion was lowest among children and adolescents from higher income families compared with those from middle-income or lower-income families.

5. On the flip side, some healthy children don’t understand that their weight is normal.  “More than 2 million healthy weight children and adolescents considered themselves to be too thin or too fat,” the report said.

6. Kids aren't alone. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. But in June of this year, a Gallup poll reported that the majority of Americans – 55 percent – “say they are neither overweight nor trying to lose weight.”