Mothers and their daughters have very different perceptions of the daughter's body, according to a new study, which adds another dimension to the question over the prevalence of childhood obesity.
A growing number of children are dangerously obese, prompting a sharp increase in the number of patients seeking obesity surgery and other weight-loss treatments.
However, a new study has revealed that part of the problem could be down to mothers giving children a false impression of their appearance, making them less likely to follow a healthy lifestyle.
The research revealed that, although nine to ten-year-olds with a low or normal body mass index (BMI) were satisfied with their body size, their mothers tended to think they were too thin.
In addition, those daughters with higher BMIs tended to realise that they were overweight, while their mothers considered their weight to be normal.
"Mothers and daughters have dissimilar perceptions about the daughter's body," revealed Kellee Patterson, a researcher at the Centre for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Columbus Children's Hospital in Ohio.
"While daughters usually see themselves accurately in terms of weight, their mothers tend to be more likely to visualise them as thinner than they are," she continued.
"This may support a young girl's positive body image, but at the same time, it may limit a mother's ability to recognise a weight issue early in their daughter's life."