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Weight Bias Assessment

Research shows that weight bias has significant impacts on an overweight or obese person’s psychological and physical health, including children. Weight bias may lead to depression, low self-esteem, bad eating behaviors, poor body image, exercise avoidance, and resisting weight management strategies.

To help children better cope with their weight issues, providers should follow these communication guidelines during interactions with both children and their parents:
  • Words to avoid: obese, obesity, fat, fatness, heavy, heaviness, large, morbidly obese, extremely obese, chubby, and excess fat.
  • Acceptable words: weight, unhealthy weight, excess weight, high body mass index (BMI), at-risk, and weight issue.
  • Ask parents and children which term(s) they prefer while discussing weight.
  • Be mindful of body language and verbal tone.
  • Avoid jokes and insensitive comments related to weight.





Ages 2 to 4



Ages 5 to 9



Ages 10 to 14



Ages 15 to 18


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Printed from the Healthy Weight Toolkit provided by Johns Hopkins All Childrens Hospital. All rights reserved.
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