Health officials say that childhood obesity is a public health crisis, so talking to your kids about it is important. But how you talk to them is paramount.
University of Connecticut researcher Rebecca Puhl says, “We really want to identify language that adolescents feel more comfortable using in these conversations, that they don’t feel stigmatized, that they don’t feel blamed or shamed.” A survey found the best terms parents could use in these conversations were “healthy weight” and “normal weight.”
Puhl explains, “A lot of adolescents face weight stigma. They face teasing, stereotypes, victimization because of their body weight or size. And, in fact, some of that weight stigma happens in the home from the parents. We know broadly from the stigma literature that when a person is stigmatized about their weight that this really can be very damaging to health.”
So what’s the best way to deal with it? Shift the conversation to health rather than to body weight, and model healthy behaviors such as providing opportunities to eat healthy foods to eat at home, going for walks, and making dinner together as a family. (UPI)