Childhood obesity: parents fail to recognise, general practitioners fail to act
A. White; B. O'Brien; T. Houlihan; C. Darker; B. O'Shea
Year of publication
Ir Med J
General Practitioners (GPs) have an important role to play in recognition of and intervention against childhood obesity in Ireland. Data were collected prospectively on a cohort of children aged 4-14 and their parents (n = 101 pairs) who attended consecutively to a semi-rural group general practice. Parents estimated their child's weight status. Actual weight status was determined for both parent and child using the United States Centres' for Disease Control's BMI-for-age references. 15 (14.9%) of the children and 49 (51.6%) of the parents were overweight or obese. While 71 (95.5%) of normal weight status children were correctly identified, parents showed poor concordance in identifying their children as overweight 2 (18.2%) or obese 0 (0%). BMI was only evidently recorded in the clinical records of 1 out of 15 cases of overweight children identified. With parents failing to recognise childhood obesity, GPs have a responsibility in tackling this problem at a family level.