How do they feel? What do parents think? What do we do?

A typical workshop with community groups, teachers, and parents is based on “Slowing the Vicious Cycle of Fat Discrimination,” Chapter 8 in Our Overweight Children: What Parents, Schools, and Communities Can Do to Control the Fatness Epidemic.


This workshop addresses the social, cultural and emotional dimensions of overweight children’s lives. How children, peers, mothers and others view children’s body weight and body size is illustrated with video clips, slides, handouts and discussion. These illustrations are laced with brief summaries of research findings of parent and care giver perception of children’s weight-related health risks, their concerns about children’s diet and weight control behaviors, and difficulties with stigma of overweight children. Participants examine their own perspectives about overweight children, compare cultural and social views of healthy body size, and develop strategies for working with families, clients, caregivers, and children.

  • Identify social, cultural and emotional dimensions of overweight children’s lives.
    • View video clips from a study of children’s preference in choosing friends, and a documentary portraying peer reactions to a thin teen made fat through special effects.
    • Review study findings and share related personal observations of children, caregivers and parents.
  • Compare parental and caregiver perspectives of obesity-related health risks and weight control behaviors of children.
    • Using self evaluation tools as discussion triggers, groups share their own views about varying body size and its relation to health risks.
    • Determine ways parent and caregiver views are transmitted to children.
  • Review research about self-concept and stigmatization of overweight children.
    • View and discuss parent/child interviews from Oprah’s show on childhood obesity, including a response from experts.
    • Hear brief readings through children’s voices portrayed in children’s literature—stories of overweight children.
    • Summarize current findings on stigmatization of overweight children.
  • Develop strategies for working with families, caregivers, and children to promote healthy body size of our children and adolescents.
    • Review program interventions and resources available to health professionals, schools, and community leaders.
    • Summarize and review healthy weight guidelines and practices for children.
    • Share resources and prevention/intervention experiences and outcomes.
      Determine goals and next steps in personal and program settings.

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