Childhood obesity affects way more than your child's long-term health it also makes a day-to-day impact on their emotions, friendships and academics. Child psychologist, Dr. Sylvia Rimm has written about this in her new book, "Rescuing the Emotional Lives of Overweight Children"--And she says overweight kids are treated as outcasts not only by other students, but by their teachers and their parents! And that treatment can scar them emotionally for life. In a groundbreaking survey that looked at over 5 thousand kids in 18 states, Dr. Rimm was shocked when she looked at the differences between normal weight kids and heavy kids. She found that heavy kids are 5 times more likely to have low self-esteem. They're 4 times more likely to be lonely. And 3 times more likely to consider themselves "not smart enough" even though they spend more time on homework than other children. But it takes more than weight loss for these kids to overcome their sadness. So here's how to help:
- If your child won't open up about their day at school, ask questions like this:
-What are the popular kids like?
-What do you think about them? That'll get your kid talking and they'll probably start talking about their own emotions.
- Next, practice honest praise. When they're wearing a nice outfit, when they do well on a test, when they played the piano well. Build them up in an honest way not a forced way.
- And encourage friendships. Let them invite friends over. Have them join groups where weight isn't an issue, like a pottery class or a volunteer group that helps other kids in need.