Study Shows 1 In 4 Kids Younger Than 12 Is on a Diet

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Research Reveals: Big Kids

child diet picture

Does your kid really need to be on a diet? Credit: Getty Images

In light of America's child obesity epidemic, it sounds like good news: A quarter of all kids younger than 12 is on a diet of some kind, according to a recent study.

A question looms, however. Only 6 percent of the more than 6,500 parents of children 12 and younger who participated in the survey were told by their pediatricians that their child needed to be on a diet, according to a statement, so are those the kids who most need to be watching their weight or do they simply have neurotic parents?

Without input from their doctors, parents are notoriously bad at determining if their children are a healthy weight or not. We've all probably seen the mom who obsesses over her 10-year-old daughter's perfectly normal baby fat. At the same time, earlier studies have shown that parents are likely to underestimate their child's weight, particularly if that child is overweight.

What is obvious from the study is that kids are generally eating badly. The poll, conducted by, asked parents what food their kids ate the most. Less than a quarter of them answered "healthy food" while 58 percent of them answered "junk food."

In addition to the 26 percent of parents who said they had put their child on a diet, another 11 percent said they were watching what their child ate, according to the statement.


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.