Using the words "fat" and "diet" may not be appropriate in the context of childhood obesity, a leading dietician from Australia has claimed.
Wesley Weight Management Centre dietician Nicola Moore has said that some parents are so afraid of sparking an eating disorder that they avoid talking about weight issues with their kids.
Some parents are risking long-term psychological damage by calling their children fat and insisting that they go on a diet, she said.
Moore says the key to beat growing waistlines is getting parents talk to their children about food choices - not their weight.
"Fat is a negative word, a rude three-letter-word," the Courier Mail quoted Moore as saying.
"I hate the word diet as well. It says that we are going to be doing something that is so removed from normal that when it is finished we can go back to old habits," she added.
According to the Queensland Health Report Card released this week, one in five children are overweight, and one in 10 are obese.
Moore also said that parents needed to exercise caution when talking to their kids about obesity.
Any changes should apply to the entire family and the focus should be on choosing food to promote overall health.
"Start making subtle changes, without drawing attention to it, such as replacing full cream milk with skim. And never call a kid fat," she said.