How-To: Conversations about Childhood Obesity

While others are debating uncomfortable conversations about childhood obesity, the STOP Obesity Alliance has been quietly working with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to provide outstanding resources for talking about health and weight with your children. Their guide embodies a matter-of-fact approach to talking about weight, health, and the ignorant weight bias that children all too commonly encounter.

If you have ever been taken off guard by a child’s question about weight, then you know it can be a struggle to know 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.

So last year, the Alliance convened a group of experts and consumer advocates to fill the void of limited resources to help parents respond to children’s questions about weight. The result is a free conversation guide that offers parents real-world perspective and plain language responses to questions about weight, health, and body image. To complement the guide they also offer a toolkit for community leaders to facilitate needed conversations and equip parents for that purpose.

Said Alliance Director Scott Kahan:

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. 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. That’s the the information gap we are filling with a practical guide for parents.

We owe our thanks to these smart folks for stepping up with pragmatic solutions and advice grounded in reality.

Click here for more information on these resources from the STOP Obesity Alliance, and click here to read more from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. 

Quality Time, Photograph © Kevin Dooley / flickr

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