Parents: If your kid is fat, don't tell them

A new University of Minnesota study released this month has some stern advice for parents of obese kids: Shut the hell up. While sayings like, 'Wouldn't it be nice if you dropped a few pounds?' or 'That would look great on you if you were one size smaller', may be uttered with the best of intentions, they don't work, reports Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, a public health nutritionist at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health who authored the report.

Her research found that sixty-percent of the overweight girls whose parents encouraged them to diet were still overweight five years later, compared to 44 percent of those who weren't told to diet.

That well-meaning advice can backfire, with teenagers ending up heavier than before. This new insight, reported in the June Pediatrics, comes as many schools have turned to notifying parents on report cards that their children are overweight. ...

"The most useful thing, first of all, is to stop talking about weight," said ...Neumark-Sztainer... to U.S. News and World Report. "Stop talking about dieting, and stop making derogatory comments about weight."

Instead of talking about weight and dieting, parents should model good behavior by eating healthy foods and doing physical activity. Encouraging dieting can cause kids to have self-esteem problems sometimes leading food disorders like anorexia or bulimia, but mostly leading to binge eating.

In other words, it's finally been proven: There's nothing worse than your mom calling you Chunk.

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