Parents: To Talk or Not Talk about Weight & Eating Habits with Children



Weight is a touchy subject. Parents with children classified as overweight or obese likely wonder… should I or shouldn’t I discuss weight and eating habits with my child?

In a recent study, Wansink and colleagues retrospectively assessed the relationship between participant’s weight satisfaction, eating habits and BMI, and their recall of parents’ weight-related comments during their youth.

Findings demonstrated a positive association between participant recall of parents’ comments regarding eating too much and BMI; in other words, the more parents negatively commented on eating behaviors during their youth, participants tended to have a higher BMI in adulthood.

Although this study relied on participant recall, this represents important progress on if and how parents should discuss weight with their children. According to a cover of the study in the New York Times, experts suggest that parents should promote a positive discussion about lifestyle behaviors and keep the home environment as healthy as possible through actions (e.g., not buying soda) rather than words (e.g., you eat too much).

Wansink et al., 2016



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