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How to talk to your children about obesity

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Childhood obesity affects about 19 percent of kids ages 6 to 19. Besides health risks that carry over into adulthood, obese children are targets for ridicule by peers and outright bullying.

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and the YMCA of Greater Kansas City has compiled a list of tips on how parents can address the issue of healthy lifestyle choices and weight loss in children.

One of the local Y's youth fitness specialists suggests that younger kids don't often relate how they look to the foods they eat and their hours spent in front of the TV or computer screen.

Parents can open helpful conversations with kids about their choices without nagging them about their current habits. The YMCA offers tips on healthy eating and how to turn fun family activities into active exercise habits. And knowing that obesity is a tough topic to talk to kids about, the Y offers ideas on how to gently bring up the subject without further damaging self esteem.

 Top five ways to talk to your kids about their weight:

  • Overweight children are waiting for a parent to take the lead
  • Avoid comparing an overweight child to siblings/peers
  • Discuss how lifestyle choices result in an unhealthy weight gain
  • Commit as a family to eating healthy foods and getting exercise
  • Don`t focus on dieting; can trigger an eating disorder