Friday, September 5, 2008

No Harm Seen In Telling Parent Child Is Overweight

“Most parents find it acceptable to be told about their child's weight status, and the feedback has ‘minimal’ adverse effects for most families, researchers from the UK report. In 2005, the UK launched its National Child Measurement Program (NCMP), which gives parents information on a child's weight only if they ask for it, Dr. Jane Wardle and colleagues explain in the journal Pediatrics. The National Health Service is currently considering changing policy so that all parents are informed of their child's weight unless they opt out. Concerns have been raised that telling parents a child is overweight may have adverse consequences, the researchers from University College London add. To investigate, they surveyed children and parents six weeks before and four weeks after they were measured at school. The children were in year 3 (6- to 7-year-olds) and year 6 (10- to 11-year-olds). About half of the parents invited to participate in the study agreed to do so. After measurement, normal-weight kids showed increased body esteem, while body esteem for the overweight children did not change. The researchers found that food restriction by parents increased slightly for overweight girls, but ‘there was little evidence of parents becoming overly vigilant about their child's eating after weight feedback.’ Being identified as overweight also didn't appear to lead to more teasing by a child's peers. Seven of the parents said either they or their children were upset by receiving feedback on the child's weight.”

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