Parents ‘afraid to discuss weight issues with kids’
As many as two out of three parents don’t talk to their children about their weight, fearing that it will lead to them getting an eating disorder.
A recent survey revealed that more than a third of parents (37 per cent) feel that talking to their children about their weight might lower their self-esteem. Two in five parents have tried to do so, but almost half of those who had an overweight or obese child said it was an ‘unhelpful experience’ for the family, the Daily Mail reported.
The findings come from a survey conducted by the healthy lifestyles organisation Mend (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition… Do it!) and the Netmums parenting website to mark National Childhood Obesity Week.
More than 1,000 parents with a child aged five to 16 responded to Netmums’ Let’s Talk About Weight survey, with one in six (15 per cent) reporting that their child was overweight.
A third of all parents identified their children’s weight by looking at them or comparing them with others their age, rather than measuring it or getting it confirmed by a doctor.
Research shows that ‘sizing up’ a child by sight alone often results in parents of fat youngsters wrongly believing they are a healthy weight.
Mend and Netmums are calling on more parents to find out if their child is a healthy weight by checking their Body Mass Index, a measurement that relates weight to height.
Children who have a high BMI and stay fat are more likely to have high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood insulin levels – all risk factors for heart disease – by the time they reach their mid-teens, say experts.
Siobhan Freegard of Netmums said that although discussions about weight might initially be tough, ‘the family talking together and working together to find healthier ways of eating will lead to happier and healthier children’.
Image: Getty Images