1. ITV Report

Parents 'are scared to talk to their children about weight issues'

Parents are worried that talking to their child about their weight will lead to an eating disorder Photo: Reuters

A new report has found that parents are concerned that talking to their child about their weight will lead to an eating disorder.

This figure rises to 65% of parents who identify their child as being overweight or obese.

More than 1,000 parents with a child aged 5-16 responded to the Let's talk about weight survey on Netmums and shared how they feel about bringing up the topic of weight with their child.

  • Over a third of parents (37%) feel that talking to their child about their weight might lower their self-esteem.
  • Despite such concerns 42% of parents have attempted to talk to their child about weight but almost half of parents who had an overweight or obese child said it was an unhelpful experience for the family.
  • Two thirds of parents (66%) said they'd like more support in talking to their child about weight.
  • This increased to 85% of parents with an overweight or obese child.
  • Only 32% of parents found it difficult to help their child stay healthy.

Parents with an overweight or obese child (72%) said they found it difficult to help their child to stay healthy.

Most attributed this to their child's preference for foods high in fat and sugar.

Three quarters of parents often talked to their children about what they eat but over half of these parents haven't talked to them about their weight.

With obesity affecting a third of the UKs children, we can no longer afford for weight to be a taboo subject.

"Its crucial that we talk about obesity in a helpful way with a focus on the positive aspects of being healthy rather than looking good.

– Dr Paul Chadwick at MEND

Every parent wants the best for their child and although initially it may be a tough conversation to have, the family talking together and working together to find healthier ways of eating will lead to happier and healthier children."

– Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard

The easiest way to check if your child is a healthy weight or not is to measure their weight and height and then to use an online BMI calculator www.mendcentral.org.

Daybreak speaks to Paul Sacher, Paediatric dietitian and co-founder of MEND and mother and parenting expert Liz Fraser.