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More than 70 Percent Parents Say their Kid isn't Overweight

Update Date: Feb 26, 2013 06:51 AM EST

Over 70 percent of parents don't think that their kid is overweight, while estimates suggest that some 32 percent of kids today are overweight, with 17 percent of them obese, a recent poll found.

The survey conducted by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR, and the Harvard School of Public Health shows how families respond to weight gain by the child.

Researchers also found that 95 percent of parents feel that a kid must have good eating habits and regular physical activity to maintain healthy weight.

Researchers in the survey assessed the value of "crunch time", which is the time between 3 p.m. and bedtime. This period offers parents maximum control over their kids' lives, but with busy schedules, parents often neglect the activities of their children.

The study included a nationally representative sample of kids between ages 2 and 17 and their parents.

More than 60 percent of parents acknowledged that during crunch time, kids eat some snack that can lead to weight gain.

The survey also found 28 percent were not getting enough physical activity. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a child needs to get at least an hour (60 minutes) of physical activity a day.

Also, about 73 percent of parents reported that their kids had an almost ideal weight. In the U.S., about 17 percent 12.5 million children and teens are either overweight or obese.

"We know that nearly one in three kids in America is overweight or obese, and that's a national emergency. Better nutrition and more physical activity can help turn this epidemic around, and parents have a unique role to play. Knowing the risks of obesity and dealing with the issue proactively can improve kids' health now and prevent serious problems down the road," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, RWJF president and CEO, in a press release.

Eating meals out can also affect a kid's weight. In the present poll, almost half (48 percent) of the children were from families that ate some 6 to 7 meals out in the past week. Also, 48 percent of children attended family functions where they had access to unhealthy food.

Previous studies too have shown that children who eat with family are more likely to be healthier and slimmer.

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