Many factors have led to a nation where one in three children is affected by overweight or obesity. This guide is not provided to get to the root of the issue, point fingers or lay blame.
This guide is intended to help parents and caregivers talk with their children about weight and health in ways that are factual, practical and sensitive to the many different emotions that can come with the complex issues surrounding weight.
Of course, even with the important information provided, the conversation can still feel uncomfortable. That’s ok. Sometimes, we just have to be the “grown up in the room” to help our children. Rest assured – you are not alone.
In short, this conversation is going to come up. Chances are it will be initiated by your child. And you are going to want to be prepared. What’s most important to know is that your child is not alone and neither are you. Parents just like you are struggling with what to say to their children about weight.
Be positive! You know your child best and that makes you the most valuable asset in communicating with your child about weight.
Weight is an issue that we all think about, and potentially struggle with, in different ways. This is true for all parents, wherever they fall on the spectrum of weight – from underweight to normal weight to obesity. Recognizing our biases is essential. But simply knowing we have them is not an excuse to ignore a child’s questions.
There is no separating the role of the parent and a child’s ability to overcome a weight problem. Children look up to their parents and much of what they learn is based on modeling a parent or caregiver’s behaviors. They can’t do it alone.
Some may wonder whether this isn’t just another parenting topic that is getting too much attention...that the problem may not be as serious as some make it out to be. But a lot has changed since the time when YOU were a kid. We know significantly more today about the life-long connections between weight and health – and those connections are enough to warrant serious attention.