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Childhood Weight Management Algorithm: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals

There are common worries about speaking to a parent about their child’s weight, but they shouldn’t be a reason to stop you from talking to them.

The key is to build up a positive relationship with the parent.

If you do not have a good relationship with the parent then you are most likely not the right person to be raising the issue with them.

In speaking to children and parents about weight issues you shouldn’t actually be doing a lot of the talking. They should.

It is their opportunity for someone to listen to their concerns.

It is imperative that:

  • you are realistic and explain that long term changes need to be made regarding the child’s diet and lifestyle, and that returning to a healthy weight will be a slow process.
  • if you are unsure how to answer their questions then be honest about this, but offer to help them find out by signposting them to the right service/programme/online supports for their family.
  • Respect their wishes and if they so wish do not ask any more questions, you can let them know you are there if they would like to speak to you at any point.
  • If you feel they would benefit from additional support from a practice nurse or dietitian please refer to same; A  Dietitian’s can be located via https://www.indi.ie/find-a-dietitian.html

Further information can be obtained via Childhood Weight Management Algorithm: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals

Created by the Paediatric Dietitians’ Interest Group (PDIG) of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI) November 2015. Review date: November 2018

© 2015 Irish Nutrition and Dietetics Institute, INDI. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in its entirety provided the source is acknowledged. This information is not meant to replace advice from your medical doctor or individual counselling with a dietitian. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only.

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