What else is standing in the way –

if the issue was easy, we
wouldn’t need a guide

There are many reasons a parent or caregiver might give for not wanting to answer a child’s questions about weight. We’ve listed below some of the more common reasons because sometimes acknowledging the barriers is the first step to overcoming them.

“Being consistent is key and a good way to overcome feeling like you are “nagging” your child to eat healthy.”


I don’t know what “success” is…normal weight? What is normal weight anyway?

There are limited resources available for parents looking to help their child to achieve a healthy weight.

Unlike with adults, experts don’t yet know how much weight loss is necessary in kids to start showing improvements in their health. But experts do know that children who enter adulthood overweight or with obesity are much more likely to remain overweight or have obesity as adults. Therefore, experts agree that the goal for kids is to exit their teen years at a healthy weight (or as your child’s pediatrician may tell you, this means below the 85th percentile on the BMI-for-age growth charts, which will be explained in greater detail later in the guide).6,7


Isn’t losing weight just a matter of will power?

No, obesity results from a complex combination of genetics, environment and health behaviors, including dietary intake and physical activity.8


What some call obese, I call beautiful.

Even though extra weight might be accepted and admired in a particular culture, it doesn’t protect a child from possible health consequences or bullying.


If I talk to my child about weight, he/she may develop an eating disorder.

Parents who approach weight in non-productive ways, such as teasing, put their children at a higher risk for developing disordered eating behaviors such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating.9 There’s no evidence that discussing weight as a matter of health, in a motivating and caring way, results in psychological harm. This guide was designed to encourage healthy, non-harmful ways to approach weight-related issues.


I’ve tried to help, but nothing works.

Many parents want their child to lose weight and feel frustrated when nothing seems to work. They often blame themselves, which can turn into negative criticism for their child.

What’s important is that there are lots of ways to improve health. Steps like increasing physical activity or improving nutrition can help.


I’m tired of feeling like the “food police.”

It is common for parents to feel like they are in a constant power struggle with their kids in trying to get them to eat healthy. What’s most important is for you and your family to determine your own rules for healthy eating and occasional treats – and stick with it.

Being consistent is key and a good way to overcome feeling like you are “nagging” your child to eat healthy.

Even when you come up with your family’s “healthy eating do’s and don’ts” however, there are many times when you can’t be around to help make the healthy choice. Being consistent with rules at home is a good place to start and there are resources to help a child make difficult decisions outside the home.