Body Positivity from Northwell Health

Dear PS 101 Families,

Below are some tips from Northwell Health Health on positive ways to talk to your child about weight and a healthy lifestyle.

I’ll start my diet after the holidays, I really need to lose weight.” While there’s nothing wrong with adults setting achievable health goals, it’s neither appropriate nor helpful for children to hear adults talk about their struggles with dieting and weight loss. Hearing this language could lead a child or teen to engage in dangerous and restrictive eating and or exercise behaviors. Nearly one in three children or adolescents in the US today have either overweight or obesity. Many youth are bullied or develop poor self-esteem as a result. As a parent or caregiver, it’s important to avoid causing guilt or placing blame on a child or teen who may have overweight or obesity. Here are some ways to help children and teens develop healthful behaviors and body-positive attitudes:

  • Refrain from “fat talk,” fad diets and commenting or criticizing your own body shape and size.
  • Avoid talking about pounds, weight loss and the numbers on the scale; focus on healthy habits.
  • Make positive changes for the entire family; don’t single out the child with the weight issue.
  • Avoid talking about carbs, calories, fats or any single “off limits” food.
  • Offer a variety of healthful foods at regular snack and mealtimes.
  • Make family mealtimes a priority. Eating and talking together promotes good nutrition and healthy weight for kids.

Provide positive feedback on healthy lifestyle behaviors like “great snack choice” or “you are running fast today,” rather than focusing on losing a pound on the scale.

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