Parents need support to curb child obesity

Parents fear talking to their children about their weight because they worry it could lead to them developing an eating disorder, a study suggests.

Two-fifths of parents think that trying to address weight problems could lead to their child developing an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.

The figure rose to 65 per cent of parents who identified their child as being overweight or obese, according to the research conducted on behalf of Netmums and non-profit organisation Mend – Mind, Exercise, Nutrition - Do it.

The study of 1000 parents with children aged five to 16 found many believed that such conversations could lead to low self esteem.

Two-thirds of parents said they would like more support in talking to their child about weight.

Mend clinical director and co-founder Dr Paul Chadwick, a Chartered Psychologist, told The Herald:

"The majority of parents of overweight and obese children are taking the courageous step of talking with their child about weight-related issues, despite concerns that by doing so they may also be doing harm. Our survey shows that they clearly want and need more help in this area."