Weighty Issues for Parents

Life can be hard for obese kids--and just as hard for their parents. Scolding and diets and tough love usually fail, so where do you turn? There are ways to improve an overweight child's menu, health and self-esteem--but the whole household needs to play a role

Illustration by Dan Page for TIME.

Illustration by Dan Page for TIME.

It's not easy watching your own history repeat itself. At first, Jo--a 49-year-old mother of two from Georgia--thought she would be spared having to witness her children relive her long struggle with obesity. Indeed, when Jo's second child Renee was born 12 weeks early, weighing just 2 lb. 11 oz. (1.2 kg), obesity was the last thing on Jo's mind.

Today, things are different. Now 11 years old, Renee (a pseudonym, as is Jo) weighs 126 lb. (57 kg) and stands 4 ft. 5 in. (135 cm) tall--and Jo worries about obesity all the time. She worries about the health consequences...

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