Disease Proof

It's Okay to Tell Parents Their Kid is Overweight

Wow! I figured telling someone their child is fat would get you a punch in the nose, at the very least a dirty look. Not so, according to a new study, there is NO harm in telling parents their kid is overweight. In fact, it may inspire them to get healthy.

The research appears in the latest Pediatrics. Reuters reports:

To investigate, they surveyed children and parents six weeks before and four weeks after they were measured at school. The children were in year 3 (6- to 7-year-olds) and year 6 (10- to 11-year-olds). About half of the parents invited to participate in the study agreed to do so.

Among the 358 children included in the study, 83 percent were at a healthy weight, 13 percent were overweight, and 4 percent were "very overweight."

Before the measurements, only 39 percent of parents with overweight kids recognized that their child was overweight, while 61 percent said the child's weight was "about right."

After the measurements, 49 percent of parents of overweight children said they had made dietary changes and 48 percent reported changes in physical activity, compared to 12 percent and 10 percent of parents of healthy weight children, respectively.

After measurement, normal-weight kids showed increased body esteem, while body esteem for the overweight children did not change.

I think it all depends on HOW you say it, but actually telling someone has got to be better than passive-aggressively printing weight or BMI on report cards—especially since some report cards are sponsored by McDonald’s!

Although, what do you do if the parents are also overweight? You might be dodging a punch after all!

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gweipo - September 8, 2008 9:39 PM

I think part of the problem is the current weight distortion in the media where models and movie stars are at the unhealthy thin extreme and people lose the ability to judge what is under, normal or overweight...
What is a tactful way of saying a kid is overweight?
Here in HK they have a waist measuring tape and tell you if your kids is above or below the median. Problem is if the median is on the high side!

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