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Study: Parents blindsided by children's health

Study found that parents of obese children don't see them as unhealthy

Parents blindsided by children's health

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - A new study suggests some parents can be blindsided when it comes to how healthy their children are.

A new study published in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests parents of obese children often don't see their kids as being unhealthy, even if the child is considered overweight by a doctor.

It also found that parents are usually the ones who are reluctant to change, but one mother said she makes it a top priority to introduce healthy habits early on.

Busy mother of three Melissa Nissalke spent Sunday afternoon at the park.

"It's a nice place to play, I kind of like the laid-back atmosphere," said Nissalke.

She was making sure her kids got some fresh air before they head home for a busy work week.

"I say the dirtier at night that you are, the better because I know you've had a good day," said Nissalke.

Not only is a good day filled with some type of physical activity, but also a healthy diet.

"I try to definitely provide fruits and vegetables every single day, my kids love strawberries, raspberries," said Nissalke.

Making sure her kids develop a healthy lifestyle from early on is one of Nissalke's top priorities.

"I think it's important because they will carry that all through their lives and possibly pass that on to their children," said Nissalke.

However, a new study suggests not all parents are paying close enough attention to their child's health.

The study surveyed over two hundred parents with children enrolled in an obesity clinic and almost a third told researchers their child was in very good health.

Researchers also noticed parents who are obese themselves are less likely to take steps to modify their child's lifestyle.

"If a lifestyle change needs to be made for the child, it also needs to happen for the parents and the other children in the home," said Valerie Pampuch, a registered dietician with Gundersen Health System.

Researchers say making changes as a family helps promote a better lifestyle for everyone.

"A lot of times children will mimic what their parents do, so you have to be a mirror image, you have to practice what you preach," said Pampuch.

That is why Nissalke tries so hard to be a healthy and active role model for her kids.

"I just want to make sure my kids are raised in a manner that they understand and know it's OK to not be involved in you know scheduled activities every single day , that it is absolutely OK to be outside enjoying Mother Nature," said Nissalke.

If you have any concerns about the health or weight of your child, doctors say it's important to have that conversation as early as possible, and to begin making lifestyle changes.

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