Most parents afraid to talk to kids about being fat - survey
PARENTS fear talking to their children about their weight because they worry it could lead to them developing an eating disorder, a study suggests.
Two fifths of parents think that trying to address weight problems could lead to their child developing an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
The figure rose to 65pc of parents who identified their child as being overweight or obese, according to the research conducted on behalf of Netmums and non-profit organisation Mend - Mind, Exercise, Nutrition... Do it.
The study of 1,000 parents with children aged five to 16 found that many believe that such conversations could lead to low self esteem.
Two thirds of parents said they would like more support in talking to their child about weight.
Mend clinical director and co-founder Dr Paul Chadwick said: "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. Our survey shows that they clearly want and need more help in this area.
"With obesity affecting a third of children, we can no longer afford for weight to be a taboo subject. It's crucial that we talk about obesity in a helpful way with a focus on the positive aspects of being healthy rather than looking good."