Want a Skinny Kid? Don't Tell Her She's Fat

Chunky teens pushed by parents to diet fare worse than peers
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2008 4:18 PM CDT
A graphic shows the percentage of overweight and obese U.S. children.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A new study of obese teens has produced a counterintuitive indication: Parents should under no circumstances tell pudgy youngsters to diet, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. A group of teens correctly identified by parents as overweight and encouraged to diet were more likely to still be chunky 5 years later than was a group with clueless parents who took no action.

The findings are of particular concern because, in some places, schools are obligated by law to inform parents if their kids are overweight. "If you are going to talk with parents about their children's weight, you need to specifically help them make positive changes at home,” the study’s lead author said. “Nagging, preaching, coercion does not work. Let the kid be in charge.”