How to talk to kids about weight

An illustration of a kid running.
Kaz Fantone | NPR

Talking about weight is a field littered with landmines – especially when it comes to parents and their kids.

Studies show that children who are teased about their weight put on more pounds than other kids. Even well-intentioned tactics, like encouraging a child to watch what they eat or go on a diet, can often backfire. 

A report by the American Academy of Pediatrics warned parents and even doctors against prescribing or discussing weight loss with kids and teens, lest it trigger an eating disorder or weight gain.

At the same time, parents and medical professionals are concerned about kids who may have gained weight due to schedule disruptions caused by the pandemic.

But if health is the goal, how do we get there?

Monday, host Kerri Miller talked with two researchers who specialize in talking with kids about weight. How can parents best help kids eat more healthfully, stay active and maintain positive attitudes about their bodies?


  • Katie Loth is an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota.

  • Rebecca Puhl is a professor at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut. 

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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