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Kids on Diets

Weigh In: Would You Put an Overweight Child on a Diet?

Encouraging a healthy body image is something that every parent wants for their child. So when the pediatrician brings up the "O" word (as in obese), determining the best course of action is a decision that can have lasting impacts, not only on a child's physical being, but their psyche as well.

In the April issue of Vogue, Dara-Lynn Weiss wrote about her decision to put her 7-year-old daughter on a strict, Weight Watchers-style diet, and the judgment and moral conflict that came along with it.

Bea did not embrace all aspects of this endeavor. She threatened violence against the doctor as we sat in the waiting room every week. She constantly whined about being hungry and begged for food she couldn't have. She railed against the inequity of the portion-size disparity between her brother's dinner and her own. Yet Bea — remarkably, astoundingly — went along with this restrictive new plan.

Weiss was constantly met with criticism from friends, family, and even her husband, saying, "Everyone supports the mission, but no one seems to approve of my methods." After a year of dieting, Bea had lost 16 pounds, and grew two inches, reaching a healthy weight for an 8-year-old. Her mom still refers to the process as "bittersweet," as she admits that despite its successful results on the scale, the year of intense discipline took an emotional toll on her daughter.

Are you the parent of an overweight or obese child? What would you do if you were in Weiss's situation?

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