Sex and drugs are easier for parents to talk about than weight. Can you believe it? I know many of my clients, especially women, have shared that they group up always being criticized for their weight by their mom. Today, when they look at childhood photos, they realize that they were not overweight at that time. Trying to live up to the Twiggy and Barbie images of perfection have made weight loss and childhood obesity a forbidden topic in families. Yet, with childhood obesity at epidemic proportions, we owe it to our children to teach healthy living skills, especially when it comes to food and exercise. We owe it to our children and to our nation.
Parents, Kids, Doctors Balk at Talk About Weight
WebMD, September 14, 2011: Doctors say it’s the most important thing parents can discuss with their kids. Yet both parents and kids would rather talk about anything else, including drugs and teen sex, than weight. Nearly a quarter (22%) of parents are uncomfortable discussing the risks of being overweight with their kids. For parents of kids ages 8 to 12, only sex is a more uncomfortable topic.
And for the parents of teens, no other topic makes them squirm more: not sex (12% uncomfortable), smoking (6% uncomfortable), drugs (6% uncomfortable), or alcohol (5% uncomfortable). The findings come from Kelton Research surveys of 1,299 parents of kids ages 8 to 17 and of 1,078 kids ages 8 to 17, sponsored by WebMD and Sanford Health.
With a third of U.S. kids already overweight — and 17% already obese — weight control is one of the nation’s most pressing issues. If you want to prevent obesity, you have to be talking to the kids who are normal weight, not just those who are overweight. There seems to be an all-around misunderstanding of this. Parents should be talking about healthy weight from the get-go, and the conversation should be going on everywhere — at home, in school, and with health care providers.
Focus on healthy choices — what you will do together as a family. Tell them you know change is slow, and that you are really proud of them making healthy changes along with the rest of the family.
Talking to Your Preschooler About Weight was Friday’s blog post and offers excellent tips on how to discuss weight with your children. Childhood obesity is a preventable epidemic in our nation. America simply cannot afford the healthcare costs resulting from the diseases of obesity and our kids do not deserve to have these diseases. Healthcare reform for children begins with the parents. It is time that adults show up in kids lives and buy healthy food, prepare healthy meals and create healthy activities as a family. Childhood obesity is a family affair that starts with Mom and Dad. Start living health for your family.
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