With childhood obesity and its associated health problems rising rapidly, the subject of weight, especially among teens and adolescents, is a very sensitive one in today’s society. Deciding how to approach the issue of weight with your young ones deserves careful attention, because the way in which you handle the subject can have serious and lasting effects. Thankfully, the ADA has come up with some pointers to help ease you into a weighty discussion with your children, or how to respond if your child attempts to discuss it with you on their own.

1. Don’t Talk, Act – If your child is elementary age or younger and you’re concerned with his or her weight, don’t talk about it. Instead, just begin making healthy lifestyle changes as a family. The best thing you can do to get your child on the road to a healthy weight is modeling healthy behaviors. Make it easy for kids to eat smart and be active. Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks and spend time away from the television and computer in favor of fun and active family time.

2. Don’t Play the Blame Game – Never yell, scream, bribe, or threaten children regarding their weight, eating habits, or physical activity. These actions only encourage a negative emotional response surrounding the subject. If you turn these issues into weapons of warfare, the results can be catastrophic. Shame, blame, anger, and resentment are a recipe for failure. The worse children feel about their weight, the more likely they are to overeat, undereat, and develop an unhealthy relationship with food.

3. Form a United Front – As with any other important issue, make sure both parents and other important relatives are on the same page. Mixed messages about food and weight can have unhealthy consequences. Discuss the issue with other authority figures first and decide on a plan together before taking action.

4. Talk with Your Healthcare Provider – If a health professional expresses concerns about your child’s weight, speak with him or her privately. Discuss specific concerns regarding your child’s growth pattern and be sure to bring up any questions that you may have. Be open to suggestions regarding healthy changes to your family’s eating habits and activity levels. Remember, most healthcare professionals want the best for you and your family, so attempt to listen even if some things are difficult to hear;

5. Seek Advice – For kids and teens, check out local programs and professionals (such as Family Food) that specialize in youth. Look for a registered dietitian that specializes in pediatric weight management. Many hospitals and clinics sponsor comprehensive programs with education and activities for both children and family members. Better yet, some of these options, such as free visits with a registered dietitian, may be covered by your health insurance plan.

6. Think Big – The focus should be health, not weight. Often times we are so focused on appearance that we forget what it means to truly be healthy. If your family starts eating better and moving more, your child may “grow into” their weight as their height increases. Compliment your children on successful and beneficial lifestyle behaviors rather than the loss of a few pounds.

However you choose to approach the issue of weight with your children, be mindful of both their physical and emotional well-being. To really make an impact, you should focus your energy on being healthy and active as a family (that means you, too) and maintaining those changes over the long term.

For more information on eating healthfully and being active as a family, constructing a nutritious meal plan for your child, or finding a registered dietitian in your area, take a look at the ADA website atwww.eatright.org. Be sure to check out our Services page or contact us by phone or e-mail to learn how we can help! You can also find us on Facebook or Twitter!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-Food/178786105530247

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/Familyfoodllc 

Source: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6848




I had a great 1st visit with the nutritionist. I went to get tips on changing by diet, but got much more. I was able to set a physical activity and nutrition goal. The nutritionist was knowledgeable and helpful.

I am so grateful for the stellar support and advice provided by Meghan, the dietitian I'm working with. She is both knowledgeable and kind, and it's a deeply productive journey. Thank you."


Consulting with a Family Food nutritionist is turning out to be helpful in my effort to live healthy. The consultations are a way of having a sense of accountability and I get helpful feedback on my dietary decisions.


Great nutrition experts who inspire you! I am happy with the nutrition specialists at Family Food. They make me excited about nutrition, answer all my questions, and provide excellent recommendations! Thank you!!


Very professional experience. I felt she listened to my needs and adjusted to personalize my nutrition needs.


My initial appointment was helpful - helped me consider new ways of addressing some problem areas for me and helped set attainable, concrete goals.


Insightful and Informative. She was very attentive and helpful. She gave excellent tips on what to do and eat to meet my goal weight.


I feel confident about the changes we made to my goals and look forward to implementing them into my everyday routine. The health adviser was very helpful and didn't make me feel shameful for not meeting all my previous goals.


I highly recommend Family Food. The nutritionist, Erika is helpful and provides great information and positive feedback.


I had an excellent experience with the representative from Family Food. She really read into what I was telling her and offered excellent advice that I am already able to implement after one visit. She also helped to make the best use of the hour long session. Very good time management!


I met with a dietician for the first time and I had an idea of what to expect but I find this to be an invaluable resource because I have already received great ideas of things to use for meal planning and I also received more information of how to read nutrition labels. I am looking forward to my next appointment.


I really enjoyed my first session with Christine. She provided me with a lot of solid information on issues I was not aware of and positive reinforcement for behaviors I have already engaged in. I outlined specific goals I would like to work on with her guidance and she gave me some initial steps to start. I found what she had to say respectful of the space I am in and cognizant of obstacles to making lifestyle and lifelong changes.


I walked in without any specific questions/concerns, and my counseling was well-guided and ended up helping me see specific small changes that I can make to keep me on-track with my nutrition goals. Solutions fit my lifestyle and were not cookie-cutter, which is fantastic. I was able to start making improvements immediately. Thank you!


I am finding the sessions helpful and a good way to talk through improving habits and making better food choices.


I am very happy this program exists. It has been very helpful and informative. My deitition is very nice and intelligent I am happy to have her help and support.


The Family Food blog

The most reliable evidence-based nutrition information on child and adult nutrition.

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