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Words are greatest barrier to improving childhood obesity

Parents, teachers, coaches and family members - - your words can prolong not improve childhood obesity! A study of 2000 girls starting at age 10 until age 19 found that overweight girls who were frequently criticized for being "too fat" were more likely to sustain or gain weight during teen years. These girls also heard the "too fat" message from girlfriends, boyfriends and classmates. While parents cannot control actions of their daughters' peers, parents can make a difference by changing their words.

Focus on "fat" can lead to increased obesity, isolation and depression or drive a girl toward an eating disorder. Here's are ways to encourage an overweight girl toward health:

  1. Keep containers of veggie and fruit in the refrigerator for easy grab-and-go snacks
  2. Stop the debate over low fat v. low sugar and choose whole foods, fresh foods
  3. Find ways to reduce sugar and fat in favorite recipes
  4. Teach your daughter how to make favorite foods instead of buying at fast food places
  5. Eat what you preach: regardless of weight, the entire family benefits from eating more nutrient dense, low fat, low sugar foods
  6. Never single her out as: "this is for you" while others at the table eat differently
  7. Talk about HEALTH, not FAT. A teen who eats healthy, gets regular exercise and receives positive encouragement does not need to use food as a comfort

By the way, adults - - - HEALTH is the real goal of weight loss to weight maintenance. Its not about a clothing size or swim suit, its about long term health. Focus on what matters.

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