All parents want happy, healthy kids. But with childhood obesity at high levels, odds are that not every kiddo is as healthy as possible. So how can you go about helping your child lose weight if it’s truly necessary? How can you be supportive? And how can you broach this sensitive subject with a kid? Today, nutrition and weight management expert Dr. David Katz shares his top tips for talking about weight with children.
8 Tips for Talking About Weight
1. Put the focus squarely on health and off weight. Whether by default or by design, each family has a health and wellness “culture.” This includes the types of food that are kept in the house, how heavily physical activity is emphasized, what sleep patterns are encouraged, how much health information is available and more. As a parent, you should emphasize each aspect of this health culture, not just your child’s weight. Remember, healthy weight follows good lifestyle behaviors, but good lifestyle behaviors typically don’t follow weight-loss diets.
2. Recognize that you spend too much time focusing on weight. Most people don’t realize how much they use weight as a way to measure their overall quality of life as well as their worth. For example, how many times have you asked about a piece of clothing, “Does this make me look fat?”—with the understanding that if the answer is “yes,” you’ve somehow failed? That’s why, when broaching the subject of weight with your child (and in your own life), it’s important to stop talking about weight—and even, to some extent, appearance—and emphasize other characteristics. For example, talk about how an unhealthy lifestyle influences your child’s self-esteem and thus demeanor, as well as how he expresses himself and the impression he makes on other people.
Want all eight tips? Click here to read more about talking about weight with kids! —Erin