US parents close their eyes to children's obesity

By Margarita Snegireva. An astonishing number of parents are not aware of their children’s obesity.

A survey found that many Americans whose children are obese do not see them that way.

That is worrisome because obese children run the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems and other ailments more commonly found in adults. And overweight children are likely to grow up to be overweight adults.

"It suggests to me that parents of younger kids believe that their children will grow out of their obesity, or something will change at older ages," said Dr. Matthew M. Davis, a University of Michigan professor of pediatrics and internal medicine who led the study, released earlier this month, the AP reports.

Childhood obesity is a medical condition that affects children. It is characterized by a weight well above the mean for their height and age and a body mass index well above the norm. Childhood obesity is considered by many to be an "epidemic" in Western countries, in particular, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Over 15% of American children are currently considered obese, and the number is growing.

Childhood obesity results from poor eating habits. In a study of 99 children, between 11 and 16 years, professional dieticians put the children on a regulated diet program for a nine month period, leading to an average weight loss of 66 pounds. However, during the two year follow-up, dieticians discovered that intake of daily calories had increased by 391 calories, leading to weight gain in the subjects.

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