Growing up in India, moms usually feel her child is looking thin or weak, especially when returning from dorms in breaks during college time. Well, my mother was opposite and used to think I was getting fat and had me perform some of the daily chores at home to shave of extra fat on my body. A survey conducted by Columbia University Medical Center in New York revealed that moms and children in the US have a false sense of their weight and think they are slimmer than they actually are.
What did the survey from Columbia University involve?
The researchers at Columbia University surveyed 111 women and 111 children. The study involved
- Asking participants series of questions about their age, income and body size along with measurement of their height and weight.
- Showing pictorial images of different body silhouettes representing a range of weights, including underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese and extremely obese.
- The distribution of the participants included ~ 80% of participants Hispanic and the rest were black, Asian or white.
Findings of the study were reported Wednesday at an American Heart Association meeting in Atlanta.
What were the results of Columbia University survey?
The study revealed that:
- 66% of the moms and 39% of kids were overweight or obese. Both numbers are close to the national trend.
- 82% of women underestimated their weight when looking at the silhouettes; 42.5% of overweight women did the same.
- 13% of normal-weight women thought of themselves as thinner than they were.
- 86% of kids underestimated their weight, compared with 15% of normal-weight kids.
- 47.5% of moms with overweight or obese children thought their kids were at a healthy weight.
- 41% of the children thought...
their moms should lose weight.
What were the reasons for misconception of being slim?
Lead researcher of the study, Nicole Dumas stated that in general the population in the US is becoming heavier, so children perceive heavy weight as normal weight.
Another thing to keep in mind that 80% of the participants were Hispanic, so the data may be skewed by this factor. In general results of obesity reflect national averages, and as Nicole says “The take-home message is that to address the obesity epidemic, we have to address body image misperception.”
“Parents come in and say that their child is too thin, but on the growth charts, he’s a normal weight or even slightly overweight,” she says. “There are so many overweight children out there that a normal-weight child looks thin. The norm has become overweight.”
The perception of “being thin” has to be addressed along with the obesity problem that the US is facing. This call for an awareness program both for people and physicians, so that physicians can educate parents of difference between being normal and over-weight. Consult your physician to check, where you and your family member fall on obesity scale and use simple tools like BMI index to constantly track it.