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With nearly two-thirds of American adults overweight or obese, it’s no wonder we have a hard time discerning whether our kids are at a healthy weight, or whether they’re overweight.

A number of recent studies demonstrate just how serious this issue is. At Wellspring, we believe that our collective failure to recognize the problem is holding us back from getting serious about real solutions for kids in need.

Here are some statistics that may surprise you:

  • Among parents of obese children, only 10% report being “very concerned” about their child’s weight.
  • Among parents of 6-11 year-old obese children, 40% of parents reported that their child was “about the right weight.”
  • The University of Michigan’s National Poll on Children’s Health found that, among parents of obese children, the following concerns ranked higher than their child’s weight:
    1. Bullying
    2. Neighborhood safety
    3. Lack of opportunities for physical activity

Of course, all three of these issues are related to obesity, but obesity is the health issue at the center – and, typically, it’s well down the list.

As you might expect, doctors and pediatricians have similar issues making themselves heard to parents on childhood obesity; in some cases, they are either not making an effort or have given up out of frustration.

  • 67% of parents of obese teens report that their child’s doctor never mentioned weight as a problem.
  • 77% of healthcare providers are hesitant to screen (i.e., calculate body mass index or BMI) for a condition they do not believe they can effectively treat, and 77% of providers similarly described obesity treatment as “very frustrating.”
  • 25% of pediatricians self-report feeling “incompetent” at recommending treatment for childhood obesity.

What parents and healthcare providers alike will understand, in time, is that treatment works for weight management. Simply providing information to an overweight or obese child will not be effective at helping that child return to a healthy weight. Let’s be honest: our kids already know what it means to eat healthy, and to be active. They simply don’t do it.

This is why successful weight management treatment programs, run by trained professionals, combine diet management, activity management and behavioral change in a comprehensive and intensive approach to help children, adolescents and young adults change their lifestyle for the long-term.