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Parents "unaware of child obesity"

A survey has revealed that many parents are unaware their child is too heavy.

Most parents do not realise that their four or five-year-olds are overweight or obese, according to researchers at the University Medical Centre Groningen in the Netherlands.

The study revealed that half of mothers thought their obese four or five-year-olds were normal weight, with three-quarters thinking the same of their overweight children.

The research led experts to push for a rise in health education - reiterating the need for a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Nearly 40% of fathers were also found to have difficulties defining their child's obesity.

The research identified a trend among families - finding that parents with obese or overweight offspring often weighed more than average.

More than 70% of parents admitted that they were too heavy - despite not realising their children's weight problems.

Professor Pieter Sauer from the Department of Paediatrics, said: "Our findings point to the need for health education programmes that encourage parents to recognise what is a normal healthy weight for their children and work with health professionals to tackle any weight problems."

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