Chubby girl eating a donutThe Question:

Do parents remember being told their child is overweight?

The Study:

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 to 2008. They looked at the responses of 4,985 parents of overweight children to the question, “Has a doctor or health professional ever told you that your child is overweight?”

The Results:

The bad news is that, on average, only 22 percent of the parents recalled being told their child was overweight. The good news is that the rate went from 19.4 percent in 1999 to 23.2 percent in 2004, and increased to 29.1 percent by 2008.


Parents play a key role in preventing childhood obesity. If doctors don’t tell parents that their child is overweight or obese, or if parents don’t remember being told, then there’s a communication problem. To control the epidemic of childhood obesity we need to make discussion about children’s weight part of routine well child visits, and this communication gap needs to be closed.

Read More:

Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 04/12

For more information on children's health go to Pediatrics for Parents.