Question: How do I tell a friend or family member that I think their child needs to lose weight?
Answer: Well, that can be a touchy subject. Parents don't always appreciate hearing anything that sounds in any way potentially critical of their child or of their parenting skills. I think it's important, if one is going to broach the subject, to do it when you have a trusting and respectful relationship with the family member or the friend about whose child you're concerned. If this is only a casual relationship, it's a little risky, I think, to bring it up.
But if it is a closer and a trusting relationship, I think it's fair to say something fairly innocent like: "I've been seeing what a huge problem it is today for our society (with) this whole issue of kids gaining weight. As a parent, do you see that as a challenging issue, have you had concerns, either for Johnny or for other kids that he plays with -- that excess weight is an issue?"
And depending on how the parent responds the door might be opened for further conversation. If the parent confide: "Gee, yeah it has been challenging. I'm trying to do the right thing, but I'm not sure that his weight is healthy and what I can do about that," then you have fertile ground for offering some ideas and at least for commiserating and trying to find some helping resources together, because there are a lot of good helping resources out there. And the first step is for parents to demonstrate a willingness to address this and to be wiling to model helpful behaviors on their own.