How NOT To Talk To Your Teenager About Weight Loss Or Dieting

Is your child overweight?  A new study provides some guidance on what NOT to do about it.

The LA Times is reporting on research that has found that talking to an overweight teenager about diets or weight loss can actually backfire.

In the study, which appeared in the journal Pediatrics, parents of over 2,000 teens were asked how they talked to their kids the issues of food and weight loss.  About half of the kids were either overweight or obese.

About 60 percent of the parents of overweight teens said they regularly had conversations with their child about dieting and weight loss.  15%  of the parents kept the focus on healthful eating and about 20% of the parents kept their mouths closed on the subject.

The overweight kids whose parents stressed healthy eating were less likely to engage in unhealthy forms of weight loss like fasting or using laxatives.

Fathers’ voices on the diets versus healthful eating issue seemed to carry particular weight.  Teens whose dads talked about weight loss and diets showed an even greater likelihood of engaging in unhealthy forms of weight-loss.

The researchers say that the findings suggest that parents should avoid conversations that focus on weight or losing weight and instead focus on healthy eating, without reference to weight issues

The researchers say that dads need to be particularly careful what they say about weight, regardless of whether their kids are overweight or not.  They say “It may be important to educate fathers to avoid any form of weight-related conversation with their adolescents.”

One more reminder to us dads that our words have a powerful influence on our kids.

To learn more about helping a child who is overweight or obese, go to and enter “obesity” in the search engine.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Shine Family Expert