Parents of overweight children often don't recognize problem, study finds -
Published Monday, February 3, 2014 at 1:30 am / Updated at 8:37 pm
Higher education
Parents of overweight children often don't recognize problem, study finds

­More than half of the parents of overweight children don't recognize that fact, according to a University of Nebraska-Lincoln study whose results are being published this week in the journal Pediatrics.

A meta-analysis conducted by UNL graduate student Alyssa Lundahl and her adviser, Timothy Nelson, an assistant professor of psychology, found that more than 50 percent of parents underestimated their children's weight when their kids were overweight or obese.

“Parents who underestimate their children's weight may not encourage healthy eating and physical activities that can optimize their children's health and reduce their risk of obesity,” Lundahl said in a UNL press release.

Lundahl combined and analyzed data from 69 studies conducted worldwide between 1990 and 2012, involving children ages 2 to 18.

Parents' perceptions about whether their children are overweight have not changed even as childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past 30 years, Lundahl said.

Parents who are overweight are also less likely to accurately assess their children's weight, the study found.

Pediatricians can better help parents if they recognize that parents aren't accurate judges, Lundahl said.

Grant boosts UNL engineer's drug-resistant bacteria study

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineer has received a National Science Foundation award to support his research into antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Xu Li, assistant professor of civil engineering, has been awarded a five-year, $400,000 Faculty Early Career Development Program Award, which supports pre-tenure faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research, according to UNL.

Li and his team are using UNL's Proteomics and Metabolomics Core Facility to determine differences in protein levels within bacterial cultures exposed to different levels of nutrients and antibiotics.

By correlating the resulting bacterial resistance with changes in proteins, according to a press release, the team can determine which proteins are involved in resistance.

Iowa State University hosts Maryland guitar-maker

A Maryland-based custom electric guitar-maker will be an artist in residence this week at Iowa State University in Ames.

ISU's College of Design is hosting Peter Malinoski through Friday. He will demonstrate the making of an electric guitar from beginning to end. The workshop will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily in the industrial design shop in the Armory on the ISU campus. The public is invited to drop by to observe, according to the university.

The new guitar will be featured in a free recital at noon Friday in the ISU College of Design's Lyle E. Lightfoot Forum.

UNMC names dean for educational strategy

The University of Nebraska Medical Center has named a dean for educational strategy, a new position created to implement new strategies.

Kelly Caverzagie, associate vice chairman for quality and physician competence in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine, was appointed last week to the new position.

“He will lead UNMC's efforts in implementing various new strategies to allow us to better educate the physicians of tomorrow and make them successful,” said Gerald Moore, senior associate dean for academic affairs.

Caverzagie will be responsible for implementing and assessing educational strategies at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels as well as monitoring local and national trends in medical education.

Public invited to join UNO trip to Israel

The public is invited to take part in a study abroad experience in Israel this May with the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the Natan and Hannah Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies at UNO.

The trip, which runs May 15 through May 26, is estimated to cost about $5,000, including airfare, and will include tours of the UNO-led archaeological dig site of Bethsaida, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Nazareth and Jerusalem.

Schwalb Center Director Moshe Gershovich, who is a professor of history at UNO and an Israeli native, will lead the trip, according to UNO.

For more information, contact Gershovich at or Kasey Davis at

The Schwalb Center can also be reached by phone at 402-554-3175.

Contact the writer: Kate Howard Perry    |   402-444-3185    |  

Kate writes about Nebraska's community colleges, state colleges and university system.

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