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Question
Posted by: Mum | 2010-08-13

Child

My child has always been slightly overweight. this is more as a result of having a huge appetite than incorrect food choices. We try to encourage healthy eating habits and exercise but I thnk that she eats unhealthily at school.

She is becoming aware and sensitive about her weight, especially because a few people have made hurtful comments about it. I don''''t want to make an issue about it at all and encourage healthy habits in a ''''matter-of-fact'''' way. I have consulted a dietition who agrees that her BMI is too high but I didn''''t take her along for fear of "  pathologising"  her, especially even at primary school!.

I''''m worried that she might start to obsess about her weight. What are the early warning signs of unhealthy thinking around weight and food?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageEating Disorders Expert

Hi " Mum" ,
Goodness, you are not alone, and I get mums calling me regularly with this dilemma. You mentioned that you consulted with a dietician, but did you use the consultation to receive some advice on ways in which to encourage your daughter to eat in a more healthy and creative manner? If you live in Cape Town, please contact me on my email and I can refer to you some specialist dieticians to assist you in ways to help you daughter. I would not rush your daughter into therapy at this point, but it might be helpful to have a specialist dietician assist her to explore some fun ways of eating in a healthy way without the focus being on weight loss or making pathological the weight, as you described it. You should review your family’s " health culture" and see if you are all eating in a healthy way (e.g., eating supper at the table with no TV), exercising regularly, and conveying eating and body attitudes that are healthy and moderated. Don’t ignore the situation, but at the same time, you need not panic. Take some time to chat with your daughter about her life in general, and see if there are any areas in her life that might be upsetting her. Some possible emotional discomfort could be finding expression in the development of some unhealthy excessive eating habits. So often, weight gain has so little to do with food per se, but more to do with the little struggles of a young life.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Eating Disorders and Obesity Expert | 2010-08-14

Hi " Mum" ,
Goodness, you are not alone, and I get mums calling me regularly with this dilemma. You mentioned that you consulted with a dietician, but did you use the consultation to receive some advice on ways in which to encourage your daughter to eat in a more healthy and creative manner? If you live in Cape Town, please contact me on my email and I can refer to you some specialist dieticians to assist you in ways to help you daughter. I would not rush your daughter into therapy at this point, but it might be helpful to have a specialist dietician assist her to explore some fun ways of eating in a healthy way without the focus being on weight loss or making pathological the weight, as you described it. You should review your family’s " health culture" and see if you are all eating in a healthy way (e.g., eating supper at the table with no TV), exercising regularly, and conveying eating and body attitudes that are healthy and moderated. Don’t ignore the situation, but at the same time, you need not panic. Take some time to chat with your daughter about her life in general, and see if there are any areas in her life that might be upsetting her. Some possible emotional discomfort could be finding expression in the development of some unhealthy excessive eating habits. So often, weight gain has so little to do with food per se, but more to do with the little struggles of a young life.

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