Home > Kids > Fitness and Nutrition > Childhood Obesity > Overweight Kids and Discrimination

Overweight Kids and Discrimination

How Parents Can Help

You can stop adding to the hurt your obese child is suffering by changing your own negative attitude and providing concrete help:

  • Educate yourself about the causes of obesity and the failure rate of most diets.
  • Avoid "fat talk" (e.g., "I feel so fat today"), which places undue importance on thinness.
  • Be an advocate for weight tolerance, along with racial and religious tolerance, and identify positive role models with diverse body types for your child.
  • Remind your child often of all his strengths as a person, and reinforce his right not to be treated badly by anyone.
  • Keep the lines of communication open, so your child will feel comfortable coming to you with problems.
  • If you suspect that your child is being teased, ask specific questions about his day: "What did you do during recess today?" Try to retain a neutral stance when your child tells you about a difficult situation.
  • You might tell your child about your own childhood experiences with being teased, and describe how it made you feel and how you handled it.
  • Try role playing an incident with your child to help him practice nonaggressive ways of handling it.
  • Teach him helpful tactics such as reporting aggressive or abusive behavior, and staying near friends or adult supervisors.
  • Stand up for your child if you witness any teasing or negative comments, and recognize when to intervene.
  • If teasing has gotten out of hand or your child has been physically attacked, it's time to meet with the school counselor. You should also encourage school officials to adopt and enforce policies prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying on school property.

Increasing Public Awareness of Weight Bias

To increase public awareness about weight bias, the Rudd Center has released two new videos demonstrating the nature and extent of weight bias at home and in school, and at the doctor's office. Each video uses both expert commentary and dramatic representation to address the obstacles obese individuals face with weight bias in American society. The videos also present strategies to help combat this rapidly growing problem.

Sources of information for this article: Weight Bias at Home and School (Rudd Center video) and Weight Bias: The Need for Public Policy (Rudd Center policy report).


8 Epic Emoji-Themed Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Check out the best emoji crafts, activities, and recipes! They're perfect for an emoji-themed birthday party or anytime you need DIY (and screen-free!) summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

10 Free Summer Learning Worksheets
Print these free printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners to help your child's mind stay sharp until September!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks