Situation Two: Body Image

Your child asks, “Am I fat?” and says she wants to go on a diet. She is emotional because she says she looks different than the other girls in her class. What do you say?

What a parent needs to know:

Dieting is not uncommon among children – studies have shown that approximately half of 9-11 year olds were “sometimes” or “very often” on a diet.18

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“Parents who encourage their children to diet may actually undermine their own intent. Often children will develop unhealthful dieting that can lead to increased risk of obesity.”20

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Tips for what a parent might say:


I’m so sorry this is happening and I’m really glad you told me.


Look, we all are different shapes, sizes and colors. So, don’t worry about being different.


As your parent, I am concerned that you are carrying around extra weight because this can hurt your health.


It’s important for you to know that how much you weigh is not a measure of who you are as a person. Weight is not who YOU are. You are (FILL IN with positive attributes, e.g., caring, a good friend, smart, a hard worker).

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