The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, showed that parents are likely to misperceive their child's weight -- especially parents who are overweight themselves.
Jessica Doolen, Patricia T. Alpert and Sally K. Miller of the University of Nevada examined several studies which examine parental perceptions of childhood obesity generated from Britain, Australia, Italy and the United States.
The researchers found that in Britain, 1.9 percent of parents with children at risk for overweight and 17.1 percent of parents with overweight children accurately identified their child as being at risk for or overweight.
In another study, the researchers made note of an interesting finding in the study conducted in Westchester County, N.Y. Parents who had concern for their child's excess weight, 76 percent thought this concern was similar to concerns about sunburn, while 67 percent found concerns about weight similar to prolonged television watching.
"If parents do not recognize their child as at risk for overweight or overweight, they cannot intervene to diminish the risk factors for pediatric obesity and its related complications," the study authors said in a statement.