Tha5 Year Old Afraid to Getting "Fat"

Updated on May 19, 2011
A.S. asks from Schwenksville, PA
6 answers

Not sure how worried I should be
My 5 yr old son is skinny... like underweight skinny. He has also been on low end of growth curve for weight.
recently he is not eating well, well worse than usual, when we asked him he said he does not want to get "wide and fat" and that skinny is healthy and he wants everyone to be healthy
I should mention, I am still carrying about 10-15 lbs of baby weight. My husband if also overweight, and currently dieting. We have not made a big deal about it, but he knows daddy is eating a lot less...
I just wonder where kids this young get this!

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So What Happened?

thanks... I should say we did not use the word diet. And when he asked about husband change in snacking and things we did say he is getting healthier.
But I do agree, on purpose or not he is picking his up somewhere and we need to watch how we talk about our attempts to get healthy

More Answers



answers from Daytona Beach on

my daugther is also skinny, and when she was 5 she said that her belly was fat because she had rolls. they weren't rolls. :). anyways, i used to be thinnish, but since having 2 c-sections, not so much. i always exercise, and when the kids ask me why, i tell them because it keeps my heart healthy. i try very hard not to talk about my weight in front of them, etc. kids know what fat is. my 4 yo says something on tv is fat. just tell your son that he needs to stay active, and eat as healthy as possible and that will keep him strong.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Where DON'T they get this? We adults obsess about size as if the worst thing in the world anybody could do is not look good. Why should we be surprised if children do it, too? Remember the old saying about little pitchers having big ears.

You and your husband might decide together how you're going to present your attitudes about health - what words you'll use from now on. You need to reassure your little boy that "healthy" doesn't mean either skinny or fat - it means everything is working properly inside you, whether you're tall or short or whether you are wider or narrower than somebody else.

All his insides work well (I assume!) so he's healthy - and if he ever isn't healthy enough, you'll let him know. One part of being healthy is eating enough healthy food, so he needs to get back to that.

Explain that Daddy is working on getting as healthy as he can be, so he's trying to eat better (not less) food and play with his son more.

If your boy turns out to be really worried, you could run it past your doctor - who, I imagine, has had to talk with other five-year-olds about body image. *Sigh*

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answers from Biloxi on

You need to explain to him that his body is developing and he needs to feed it to help it develop into a strong, healthy body for him to have for his lifetime. Whereas, (like me) our bodies are not "growing" - they have finished, so Mommy and Daddy have to be more careful of what they eat so they can keep their bodies healthy for their lifetime.

Kids pick up sooooo much negative body image from TV, peers, everywhere. He may have heard you and Hubby talking about "being fat" or loosing weight, and he may want to be like Daddy - so you have to really teach him the difference between growing bodies and adult bodies.

Encourage him to eat more fruits and veggies - they are healthy, but not "fattening" foods. I limit the carbs we eat anyway, and have always told my son he can eat unlimited fruits and veggies.

My son (15ish) is officially underweight according to his last checkup. So, we have been having lots of discussions about weight gain. He told me last night, he would rather be underweight because it looks better. Ugh. So I explained, once again, that he needs to at least begin to build muscle tone - muscle weight, not fat weight, and be healthier. While, I, on the other hand, need to shed about 15 pounds. Balance our meals is becoming a challenge, as I am trying to encourage him to eat more, while cutting back on what I eat.

Hopefully, this is just a phase that your son is going through. Communication is key here, serving him a variety of healthy, nutritious foods, and teaching him about the food pyramid, and healthy eating choices.

My son, will most likely always be "officially' underweight, as he is his father's clone, but, teaching him to eat healthy, and be healthy, will serve him well for life.

Good Luck
God Bless

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

take him to the doctor, and get the doctor to explain how he won't grow to be a strong man if he doesnt eat healthy foods....also say that fat is not a problem and something to be worried about. As long as you eat healthy there is no problem...maybe explain how daddy made the wrong choices in food, and it wasn't quantity so much as bad quality foods? We don't use the word diet, or fat...ha we curse but look at those words as banned words!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

If it were my son I would think hard about who in his life is discussing their weight...or where he could have seen this (TV, movie?) Because kids that young do NOT worry at all about weight. I am guessing he has overheard you and your husband discussing weight. Even little remarks like-no I can't eat that dessert b/c I am on a diet....these can all be deciphered by little ones. I would also try to discover if another child may be teasing him about your husband's, or your, weight.



answers from Albuquerque on

Kids this young get this from their parents. (it's been proven in study after study). So if your husband is dieting and your son sees that, it's natural that he wants to be like dad, or that he's concerned about getting heavier and disappointing you and your husband. He's probably seeing the disappointment that your husband has about his own weight. From a five year old's perspective, there's a lot about the world they can't control. But they CAN control how much they eat.

You need to have your husband back off on making his diet obvious -- talk about getting healthy, not eating less or getting skinny. Then work with your son to understand how much food his body needs. Look at the food pyramid together and have him help plan the meals so he can see how much is recommended. Then do the same for you and your husband. Ensure that your son sees that dad is eating the recommended amount of food every day too.

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