Is it right to tell a child they are OBESE?

I was watching a morning talk show this week and the hosts were having a conversation about the wii game. The virtual personal trainer on the game shows no mercy and will tell you, you are OBESE and show a big frown. They debated whether or not it is okay to tell a child they are OBESE.

There are kinder ways to speak with children and adults about their weight problem

While I think it is important for both parents and children to know if they are overweight as this can compromise both their physical and mental health,  I personally hate the word and don’t think an adult should be called OBESE either. There are gentler ways to talk with someone about their weight problem. I won’t use the word unless I am quoting statistics about the obesity epidemic. I have worked with overweight kids and adults for years now and have heard more than once how hurtful it is to go to the doctor and be told you are OBESE or morbidly OBESE. For many overweight people the word OBESE is synonymous with grotesque. I am sure most would agree you would not approach a person and tell them they are grotesque.

I can also tell you most adults know they are overweight and have a problem, so making them feel worse about it is not the answer.  However, research has shown that parents are often not aware how overweight their child is, so physicians, nutritionists and trainers have to be honest with parents. I just think there are kinder words than OBESE to let a parent know their child has a weight problem that is probably negatively affecting their health and emotional well being.

I don’t think it is wise to tell a child they are obese, as it may depress them to such a level that they start dieting at a young age. Studies are showing kids are dieting as young as nine years old. It saddens me, because I know these kids are not doing so in a healthy way, thinking about the long term. Dieting can slow a child’s metabolism and hinder future weight loss. That is why there are so many adults stuck on the diet roller coaster today.

Don’t let your child get on the DIET roller coaster!

  • If you are dieting, STOP! Just start eating healthier, so you can be a good role model!
  • If you aren’t active, start moving. Find fun activities to do as a family.
  • If you need support, seek out a professional dietitian, nutritionist, trainer and/or coach.

Let’s make a healthier future for our children!

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