Overweight Children

Updated on February 19, 2010
S.M. asks from Keller, TX
9 answers

Ok mom's how do you tell your kid they are overweight without hurting their feelings?? I will always protect my child from everyone and I am always telling him that he is a very handsome and healthy boy not fat never never do I say he is fat .. I never let any relatives say he is fat because I will shut them up right there and then..
The reason why I ask is I saw a show and they did this thing about kids being overweight and there was a mom that would ignore her daughter going into the kitchen late at night to eat.. I dont want to be one of those moms but I dont want to be one of the other moms either..
I will never turn into those people telling their kids that we need to diet.. I enrolled him in sports and we try to stay active. But I have noticed that he is getting these eating habits that are not healthy I still dont think he is fat nor overweight, but I dont want to get to that point ..My question I guess is how to avoid him from eating when he is bored? I dont want to say dont eat that because its like you tell them ok eat it.. You know what I mean... this is a very touchy subject but I needed to hear some input from other mothers.

Please advise.. I don't want to ignore it any longer, I am afraid that it will get out of control.


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answers from Dallas on

Do you have to confront them and tell them that? I don't think saying "you are fat" is the only way to go, or that taking another course of action would mean that you are ignoring it. Simply informing someone they are overweight, especially a kid, doesn't really do anything to help or motivate them.

Why not just concentrate on modeling and nurturing healthy behaviors? Provide nutritious meals and opportunities for exercise. Limit junk food access. I'm sure they are aware of their body and may already have hurt feelings from comments at school. Be supportive of a healthy lifestyle - and that should be for the whole family, not just the child that may be overweight.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

OMG! Do not tell your child they are fat and don't say anything that would give them that impression. I still remember very, very vividly one afternoon as an early-teen I went into the kitchen to get a drink from the fridge. My mom was not in the kitchen, but when she heard the fridge door close she yelled, "You don't need to eat anything!" I was devastated and as you can see, I still remember this. Don't get me wrong - my mom is very loving and has never said anything to hurt my feelings or tell me that I'm fat (other than this). It was just that one outburst that effected me forever.

I completely agree with the others. Want you child to eat better, then your whole family has to do it. Don't want him eating potato chips all afternoon, then don't buy them! One very important thing to remember is don't forbid a child from eating anything, especially if they see it in the fridge or pantry. That will only make them want it more. Everything in moderation is the key.

Children's Medical Center has a family-oriented program called LEAN that focuses on education and teaching children (and their parents) how to eat right. If you're interested in this program, talk to your child's pediatrician and see if he/she will refer you to that program.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on


Speaking as a former overweight child, I can tell you the last thing you want to do, regardless of your child's age, is tell them they are fat. I guarantee you they already know this, and having a parent tell them that will only be a cruel blow to their self esteem and fragile young egos, no matter how nicely you think you're going to put it. I had a father who was quite blunt, to put it nicely, and told me I was just too fat to be on the cheerleading squad in junior high. Let me tell you, that did the opposite of motivating me. That made me feel even worse about myself, which caused me to eat more, and you guessed it, gain more weight.

The best thing you can do, in my humble opinion, is just to start modeling the behavior you'd like to see in your child. That's what my mom did for me, and it worked. It was never brought up that our family was going on a diet, or even a lifestyle change. She just started serving much healthier foods and instituted family biking and hiking trips. The word's "we're doing this so we/you can lose weight" never crossed her lips, and that was the best thing she could have done.

I have to ask, since your posting was so small, what your motivation is for even wanting to tell your child that? If you think you're going to help them by telling you that, I promise you you're not.

Just be for your kids the kind of person you want them to be, and I promise you they will follow in your footsteps.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I agree with the other moms that you have to model the behaviour you want them to do. You can't tell him to have better eating habits if yours aren't good to start with. You can't do much when he's at school, but if you have snacks at home, stop buying them. Get rid of the soda, chips, candy, etc. Have healthy stuff out for everyone. Learn, then teach portion control (this is hard, but it's also the key to healthier eating). You can even eat the "bad" stuff if you only have 1 serving of it :)

DON'T put him on a diet - they're worthless and unrealistic. Healthy eating is the only way to go. I know it's hard, believe me (I LOVE Pepsi, but geeze - how many calories are in those things?! - LOL). I had gestational diabetes and that was the healthiest I ever ate, and I even enjoyed it! I have since then given into temptation, but I'm working my way back to those healthy eating habits. I've heard good things about how cooking the meals together - at home or at a place like Super Suppers - can help children learn to eat healthier, cause they're more involved in the food prep, part of the family, more responsible, etc.

And, of course, at his next check-up, have the doctor make sure nothing is actually wrong with his metabolism (thyroid, etc.). Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

My guess is that unless the child is really young then they probably realize they're overweight and don't need you to tell them. My suggestion would be to not say anything about their weight but announce to the entire family that every is going to start getting healthier by eating right and exercising. It won't hurt anyone who isn't over weight but will help those who are to lose the weight. Start getting healthier and stick to it until you are comfortable with everyone's weight and even after if you want to. Just make it madatory...... call it "family time" or something. It'll be good for everyone

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

stop buying snacks you don't want him eating. be a better example. get more exercise. obviously you feel there is a problem. if you notice him eating at a time when he is bored, ask him to come and help you do something and inadvertently put the snack away. tell him to go outside and play. enough computer time (or whatever). i think that you sound pretty smart, as you have noticed some trends you are not happy about. i also have a very scrawny child and two mod skinny kids. i keep them extremely active. a ride to the park on their bikes (total round trip 3 miles) is "fun", they swim, gymnastics etc. so maybe a bigger increase in activities. i also tell them I am the one needing to eat healthier, as this is true. But I seldom say diet or lose weight even when talking about myself. i will say i feel sluggish and think i have been eating to poorly latetly and the only way for me to get better is for me to limit the snacks in the house because they are to much temptation. Is that ok with them for a while? they are more than willing to help and set good examples. and they usually agree. they eat anything, like yogurt and fruit, squash etc. so it is really easy to get them on board. and the whole family benefits. although occassionally i hear grumbling about wheat bread. but i announce we are going to bet back to some better eating habits. and that usually helps, and is usually true and then know we are eating more take-out or have been to busy to cook etc. we do this several times a year, re-evaluate what we are eating and they help find ways to improve etc. they also help me make the monthly menu and help cook, and shop. so they are inherently part of the whole food process. and i think that makes a difference. i hope that you have read some good ideas. good luck in your endeavor.
you might try, the southbeach diet. not necessarily the diet but mainly the education on food and healthy blood sugars and how the food interacts. it is a really good balanced eating plan, to lose weight or not. and i also like menumailer.com by LeAnn Ely. she is a nutritionist with a website for healthy cooking and recipes.
good luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would not tell him he is fat. I would say that as a family we are going to make sure we are healthy. They I would spend any free time you have outside, going to the park, taking walks, sending him outside to play with friends. I would also make sure he eats good healthy food. You control what is in the house so you have the power to make him healthy. At the end of the day it comes down to eating less and moving more.

Good Luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think for children, most pediatricians recommend cutting out the junk food and snacks -- only healthy fruits and veggie snacks, and more exercise/activity -- like enrolling the child in a martial arts class or soccer. something that has lots of activity and movement.
I think there's a summer camp for children at the Cooper Clinic....
there's a teen fitness camp (ages 12-16) and a Food & Fit camp (ages 8-12).


Update: and ditto on what the other poster said...don't buy unhealthy snacks or foods. they are not good for anybody in the household -- not even a fit child. junk foods (cookies, chips) are filled with trans fats, partially hydrogenated etc., and high fructose corn syrup.... all are toxic to your metabolism and tell your body to hold on to fat and gain more.

so just don't buy the junk food -- only healthy whole foods (unprocessed)... fruits and veggies. If you absolutely must buy something crunchy - buy pretzels. and always get the low fat/low cal versions of things (milk - my pediatrician says that after 2 yrs, children don't even need 2% milk -- skim is best. milk has so much fat content and it's unnecessary when you can buy skim).
If YOU create a healthy environment at home (no temptations) -- then how can he get the food at night? And if he's hungry at night, tell him to eat some grapes (frozen grapes are so yummy - taste really sweet!) or a banana or an apple.
And at school, don't put $ in his account to buy lunch at school. Always pack his lunch so you know what he's eating.
I agree, the whole family needs to be in this together. Everyone needs more exercise and healthy foods in their lifestyles! Even thin children need to know how to eat well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

First of all, "going on a diet" makes diet a 4 letter word. "watching their diet" is a formula for optimal health.
I am a Family Success Coach and I teach families how to eat properly. I have an eBook at http://www.heyyougetreal.com/FoodRules.html.

Let me say this, there is a 33% obesity problem in our children.
This is the first time in history that our children have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Children as young age 8 are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a disease that up until recently was only given to overweight adults.

S....I am going to be straight up.
THAT PARENT who decides how her child will live, eat and play.
THAT PARENT who cares enough about her children that even if they "get a little upset" with you, you know you are doing what is best for them.
THAT PARENT who is the parent who is truthful and open and honest and comes from a place of LOVE.
THAT PARENT who will make the hard choices, even if they are uncomfortable.
THAT PARENT who knows that there is not better time than NOW.

S., we need to get started RIGHT NOW. If you are already "shhh-shing" your family not to comment on his weight, you need to start NOW. If you are ready to make a change, if you are ready to take this off your vent list and onto your CHANGE list, contact me. DO it now. We can start as early as today.

Family Success Coach

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