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Kate Uslan's picture

Have you ever been taken off guard by a child’s question about weight? Like, “Mom, am I fat?” or “Can I go on a diet?” Many parents hear heartbreaking stories from their children about being teased on the bus or know that their child is worried about changing clothes in front of others for physical education class. And parents struggle with what to say and how to say it. In fact, a WebMD/Sanford Health survey found that parents of teens find it more difficult to talk about weight with their child than talking about sex, drugs, alcohol or smoking!

Experts at the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Alliance) say the issue is compounded by the fact that there are limited resources to help parents respond to children’s questions about weight. To help, STOP and the Alliance have developed a free conversation guide that offers parents “real-world” situations and plain language responses to questions about weight issues including understanding BMI, cultural differences, body image, bullying, weight bias and family obesity.

The first edition of the “Weigh In” guide is for parents and adult caregivers of children ages 7 to 11. The free guide is available online and on the STOP Obesity Alliance ( and Alliance for a Healthier Generation ( websites.

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