When it comes to truly seeing their toddlers, many moms fall short. That's according to new research that finds 70 percent of moms inaccurately gauge their baby's body size, a misperception that may have profound implications for a child's health down the road.
"Both parental perceptions of body size and how satisfied parents are with that body size" affects the diets that parents choose for their children, "since perceptions are likely to guide behavior," said Erin Hager, an assistant professor in the Pediatrics, Growth and Nutrition division at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
To gauge parental perceptions, Hager and her co-investigators gave 281 low-income moms, many of whom were themselves overweight, a drawing of seven toddlers who ranged from underweight to obese. The moms were asked, "Which picture looks most like your child?"
Only 30 percent of moms successfully picked a drawing that accurately represented their baby's body size, while 70 percent of the moms were off in assessing their toddler's weight.