Parents may view their kids as healthy, even if they're not - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Parents may view their kids as healthy, even if they're not

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A new study says many parents of overweight children don't see their kids as unhealthy.

Of the families surveyed at a children's hospital in Rhode Island, one-third of parents said their child's health was excellent or very good.

But the children were referred to the clinic by their pediatrician to help them slim down.

It's a problem, that health experts say parents need to look at more seriously.

"I think it's really important just because childhood obesity has become such a huge thing lately," said Rachel Biri.

Biri works at Healthpoint in Jackson, and said activities like a kids camp can help start healthy habits early.

She said they encourage exercise and healthy snacking.

"Give them as much knowledge as possible and sometimes they'll take that home and say hey we had this for a snack today you know people don't even think a banana is just as easy to grab as a bag of Cheez-Its," said Biri.

It's those people at home, parents, that could be affecting a child's health.

A new study said many times parents with obese children still view them as healthy.

That's something Biri said she's not surprised by.

"We have a lot of overweight parents also, who may not realize it or you know a lot of parents are busy, people are both working these days and it’s hard to sit down and have a meal and plan healthy fruits and vegetables," said Biri.

Some parents said they try to make healthy eating and exercising fun.

Chris Christensen said he takes his great grandson to the park to get him moving.

"We come out to the park, play on the swing set, chase the ducks around, climb on the train, we go fishing," said Christensen.

Biri said it's a good idea to make health a family affair, healthy eating and exercising together.

That can help prevent an unhealthy cycle, as research from the CDC shows children who are obese likely grow up to be obese adults.

"I do think that people generally just kind of ignore it, and when kids are growing it's a touchy subject, you don't want to be too forceful with 'oh, you need to lose weight,'" said Biri.

But Biri said parents need to be honest and aware of their child's health, to make sure they're actually healthy.

A children's doctor in Miami that worked on the research, said a lot of parents will tell him they think their children will grow out of their weight problem.

But he said that's hazardous thinking.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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