Tags: childhood | obesity | guide | parents

New Guide Offers Child Obesity Tips

Thursday, 27 September 2012 11:30 AM

For parents, talking to kids about obesity and health isn’t as difficult as the birds-and-bees talk, but can still be challenging. To help provide some guidance, child health advocates have produced a guide to help parents answer kids’ tough questions about their weight and help them overcome childhood obesity.
The guide – developed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Strategies to Overcome and Prevent Obesity Alliance (STOP) – is a free online resource (at www.WeighInOnObesity.org) that offers parents "real-world" situations and plain language responses to common questions. Topics include weight issues, understanding body mass index (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 Director Dr. Scott Kahan. "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" was created to fill the information gap for parents of kids aged 7 to 11 years, Kahan said. The research-based resource was created and reviewed by experts from a variety of fields including pediatrics, obesity research and psychology. Among the issues the guide addresses:
• BMI confusion: How to respond if you child brings home a BMI report card that shows he/she is overweight or obese and asks what this means.
• Cultural differences: How to handle the situation if your racial and/or ethnic heritage traditionally finds having extra weight as attractive or something to be admired, rather than viewing it as a health concern.
• Body image: What to say if your child asks, "Am I fat?" and says she wants to go on a diet, is emotional or feels she looks different from the other girls in her class.
• Bullying: How to manage the situation if you child is being teased, bullied or harassed for being "fat."
• Weight differences: What do to if your average-weight child makes fun of his or her overweight sibling, or if you are an overweight parent and another adult calls you "fat" while in public with your child.
"We set out to develop a guide to help children deal with obesity. During the process, we realized the great need for a guide that lets parents and caregivers know they are not alone," said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "Weight is a tough issue – perhaps the toughest today's parents face given all the complexities. But that doesn't mean we can avoid it. In fact, it only intensifies the need to weigh in."

© HealthDay

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Online booklet helps parents answer kids’ tough questions about weight and address childhood obesity.
Thursday, 27 September 2012 11:30 AM
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