Blinded by love: How mothers over-feed obese toddlers because they can’t see that they are already fat

  • Survey of mothers found mothers overfeed their children as they cannot see they are too heavy
  • Australian research found 32 per cent of toddlers in the study were fat, but only four per cent were recognised by mothers as having a problem
  • Rapid early weight gain before the age of two makes a child three times more likely to be obese later in life


Deluded mothers are overfeeding their children because they are unable to tell if they are too chubby, new research suggests.

A survey of nearly 300 mothers found they struggled to judge the weight of their own toddlers.

Experts say this blind spot can lead to the youngsters being encouraged to overeat, predisposing them to obesity in later life.

Article Continues Below

The study was carried out by dietitian Rebecca Byrne who asked 276 mothers to describe their 12 to 16 month old toddlers as either underweight, normal weight or overweight.

The researchers then measured the children’s heights and weights.

Ms Byrne said the mothers thought 27 of the children were too thin, but only one of these toddlers was actually underweight, with the rest a normal size.

Additionally, while 32 per cent of the toddlers in the study were actually overweight, only four per cent (12 of the 276 toddlers) were perceived as too heavy by their mothers.



Follow IWB on Facebook and Twitter