This Newsweek headline is shocking and seems to reflect a deeper, psychological component to childhood obesity: Parents are in denial and suffering from what's called the "skewed weight perception" phenomenon.
"The obesity alarm bells are ringing again. A new report out this week finds that more than two thirds of states (38 total) have adult obesity rates above 25 percent—a striking increase since 1991, when no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. Hardest hit: Mississippi, which weighed in at 33.8 percent, followed by Alabama and Tennessee (tied at 31.6 percent), West Virginia (31.3 percent), and Louisiana (31.2 percent).
"A new poll included in the report finds that the majority of Americans believe that childhood obesity is a “significant and growing challenge for the country,” and yet 84 percent say their children are at a healthy weight—despite national stats showing that nearly one third of children and teens are overweight (their body mass index, or BMI, falls between the 85th and 95th percentile for their age and sex) or obese (at or above the 95th percentile). Americans understand there’s a problem; they just don’t think their kids are a part of it. The consequences are dire. “We’re in danger of raising the first generation of children who could live sicker and die younger than the generation before them,” says Dr. James Marks, RWJF’s senior vice president.