WATCH: Is it harmful or helpful to talk to your kids about their weight?

- What’s the best way for a parent to talk to their overweight child? Should they talk about it or just keep their mouths shut? Now a new study offers guidance. Do not make comments about your children's weight. The journal Eating & Weight Disorders published a study that found parents' comments, though often well-meaning, about a child's weight are often predictors of unhealthy dieting behaviors.

Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut says that “girls are exposed to so many messages about thinness and body weight, and often times women’s value is closely linked to their appearance. If parents don’t challenge those messages, they can be internalized.”

The study included over 500 women in their 20's and 30's. They were asked questions about their body image and also to recall whether or not their parents ever made comments about their weight. Whether or not the women were overweight, those who recalled that their parents had made comments about their weight were much more likely to think they needed to lose 10 or 20 pounds.

What should you do if your child actually is overweight? Puhl says to “wait for your child to bring it up and be there to support them when they do.” But most importantly let them know that their self worth has nothing to do with their appearance and you love them no matter what.

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