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Childhood obesity: Battling the stigma - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Childhood obesity: Battling the stigma

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While it's important for doctors and families to help children lose extra weight if they're struggling with obesity, there's a new focus on what's happening with kids on the inside.

"Too often the social and emotional impact of body weight, the stigma and bullying that children face because of body weight, are neglected," says Rebecca Puhl of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

Weight stigma can lead to intense feelings of sadness and anxiety. Kids may react by isolating themselves. 

Most bullying and teasing about weight comes from peers, but often kids say they feel stigmatized at home because family members focus on weight. 

"One of the things that can be very helpful is to focus conversations on health and health behavior rather than the number on the scale," Puhl says.

Parents can help by not singling out one person trying to lose weight. The entire household can make dietary improvements and exercise together.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is also calling for more training in medical schools about weight stigma. 

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