Childhood obesity is a growing problem, but parents are often surprised when told that their child is too heavy.
Daybreak speaks to Paul Sacher, Paediatric dietitian and co-founder of MEND and mother and parenting expert Liz Fraser.
A new report says parents are concerned that talking to their child about their weight will lead to an eating disorder. Daybreak's Cordelia Kretzschmar reports.
– Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard
Tackling the issue of children's weight is a growing problem and it's concerning a third of parents are avoiding the issue for fear of lowering their child's self-esteem.
"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."
Research shows that telling if a child is overweight by sight alone is generally inaccurate and usually leads parents of overweight children to mistakenly conclude that are a healthy weight.
If left unrecognised this may have major implications for the childs future health.
With over a third of children classed as overweight or obese in the UK, only a very small proportion of them are getting the practical support they urgently need to reach and maintain a healthier weight.
– Dr Paul Chadwick at MEND
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.
"This is an awful situation for parents to find themselves in and many parents are probably quite distressed about this.
"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.
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.
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.
- 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.
A new report says 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.