by Jen Jenkins, Market Analyst, MCN
It’s never a good sign when a health condition prompts new buzz words, in this case “oblivobesity.” This latest addition to the national discussion on the childhood obesity epidemic introduces this term while shedding some light on the series of (mis)conceptions and (mis)communications that have led to this problem and are continuing to compound it.
Just what is “oblivobesity” referring to? It is a term coined by Dr. David L. Katz, Director of Yale’s Prevention Research Center, to indicate parents’ inability to identify that their children are overweight. A grave review of recent studies published in Childhood Obesity showed some shocking results: Percentages of parents who inappropriately perceived their overweight child as just about the right weight was 96.6% and 94.9% for the [two studies in question]. As high as 78.4% of parents perceived their obese child as just about the right weight in the recent survey. This information helped bring this term to life taking special note of the fact that comparing this 2012 study to a similar study done in 1994 children are not only significantly heavier now but parents are also 30% less likely to notice that there is a problem.
The reasoning behind these revelations spans from the idea that children generally being heavier is considered the “new normal” to, in the words of Dr. Katz, “willful, genuine denial” on the part of the parents. The scary thing is that there is no hope of fixing the issue if the serious health threats that accompany obesity are being ignored or denied. Many different factors come into play when this discussion arises but the important takeaway here is that this growing issue is being swept under the rug in the very place that it must be addressed: American homes.