How Parents Should Confront a Kid’s Weight Issue
Many parents of obese children hesitate to talk to their children about their weight issues, according to childhood obesity expert Dr. Joanna Dolgoff. She advises parents to acknowledge and confront the issue because childhood obesity can lead to a lifetime of health and emotional problems.
Dolgoff, a New York-based pediatrician is serving as a medical consultant in the new season of the NBC reality weight-loss show “The Biggest Loser.” Although the program, which now includes obese adolescents, has generated a lot of controversy from critics, Dolgoff asserts that the program may initiate a national dialogue to tackle the problem of childhood obesity.
Dolgoff advises parents to talk to their children about obesity in a loving way, using the word “we” instead of “you.” She suggests talking about the effects of eating on one’s health instead of its effects on one’s weight or appearance. She mentions that the biggest mistake parents make is to give children large portions of food, which make them eat more. She adds that by not confronting the issue of obesity children run the risk of having an eating disorder, such as starving themselves, then binging, and purging. This behavior may be brought about by feelings of guilt and embarrassment because children are aware they are overweight but are not able to talk about it.
Finally, Dolgoff talks about the methods she advocates in her book “Red Light, Green Light,” where she classifies foods according to color so kids will easily remember which ones are nutritious and can eat anytime (green), foods that should be eaten in moderation (yellow), and those that should be eaten occasionally as treats (red). She emphasizes that instead of counting calories and weight, kids must learn to choose nutritious foods and practice control.
Lynch, R. Confronting a weighty kids’ issue. LA Times