Parents on a diet should exercise caution when discussing weight loss with their children, experts say.
Instead, they should talk about “healthy eating” and be positive about exercise.
Researchers claim the changes will prevent it from feeling like a shameful problem and prevent negativity from being passed on to teens.
Prof Fiona Gillison, from the University of Bath, said: “Talk about playing sport you enjoy so your children find sport enjoyable and not a chore.”
Instead of “diet,” she suggested parents use phrases like, “I don’t feel healthy.”
“I want to feel healthier and more energetic, so I’m going to eat better – shall we do this together?”
The advice, presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Dublin, linked ‘talking about weight’ in the family to poor child well-being.
However, encouraging children to be physically active and eat healthily has had positive effects.
Research from University College London suggests that obese children as young as five should be helped through weight loss programmes.
Experts said the introduction of “universal” schemes to help parents raise their children across the UK could prevent 7,000 children from becoming overweight before they start school each year.
University College London researchers said programs that educate young parents about the importance of sleep and how to limit screen time are particularly impressive.
dr Simon Russell, of the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, said: “The early years are an important time for healthy growth and development.
“Life habits adopted at this age have a good chance of being adopted.”