Seems kiddie docs don't tell parents their kids need to lay off the treats and get moving. A new study out of my hometown, Cleveland, finds docs have been diagnosing weight problems among only 10% of overweight kids, 54% of obese ones, and 76% of the severely obese. We're talking kids aged 2 to 18. Researchers at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine (Hi, Dr. Teresa, my most fave alum) calculated body mass index from each child's height and weight.
I can understand the docs not mentioning anything in writing for the overweight. Maybe some of these kids were borderline, maybe slightly overweight. Okay. But it's the obese kids and the severely obese ones that worry me. I'm hoping the pediatricians/family doctors discussed their weight with their parents. Maybe they simply didn't want to label the kids. I have to admit I paused before placing "children" after the word "obese" above. It's painful to write those two words together.
Another observation - these kids had all gone through a "health care system" in Cleveland. Now I haven't looked at the study but I'm wondering if this is a representative sample. In other words, how many of these children have actual weight problems. We know they're more common in lower SES families. And so I must ask if pediatricians are under diagnosing weight issues in more affluent families as well.
Yeah, yeah, sometimes SOME of us parents might worry about our children's weight and more likely eating habits MORE than we should. You know who you are. Okay, sometimes me. But here's evidence some of us, including pediatricians, might need to worry a bit more, or at least express some concern.
Just like so many parenting issues...the people who are concerned are the ones who needn't be... and those who are not should be.