Have you ever been taken off guard by a child's question about weight? Many parents struggle with what to say and how to say it. In fact, a WebMD/Sanford Health survey found that parents of teens find it more difficult to talk about weight with their child than talking about sex, drugs, alcohol or smoking. Experts at the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Alliance) say the issue is compounded by the fact that there are limited resources to help parents respond to children's questions about weight. To help, STOP and the Alliance have developed a free conversation guide that offers parents "real-world" situations and plain language responses to questions about weight issues including understanding BMI, body image, bullying, weight bias and family obesity.
"When parents search online or ask a medical professional for help in talking with their children about tough topics like sex or drinking, they can find a host of useful tools," said STOP Obesity Alliance Director Scott Kahan, MD, MPH. "Yet if they search for information on how to field questions on weight, they won't find much beyond the simplistic 'eat less, move more' proclamation we've heard for years. And that's just not sufficient to help the millions of families facing this serious and emotional health issue."
"Weigh In: Talking to Your Children About Weight and Health" is an online guide created to fill the information gap and offer practical advice for parents struggling with how to discuss weight and health with their children. This research-based resource was created and reviewed by experts from a cross-section of fields including pediatrics, obesity research and psychology. Rather than focusing on finding the root of obesity or laying blame, the guide offers practical information for how to responsibly and compassionately respond to the following real-world scenarios: