LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A new survey in WebMD will shock parents and kids equally.

If you think your parents had trouble talking to you about drugs, or sex, or alcohol or smoking…guess what? They really find it much more difficult to talk to you about your weight and possible obesity.

And according to this survey, kids aren’t that much more comfortable talking to their parents about weight either.

KCAL9’s Suraya Fadel talked to Dr. Travis Stork of “The Doctors,” and he says it is critical for parents to open up this dialog. “Stay away from negative terms,” he says, “Do not teach kids how to diet. It’s about living a healthy lifestyle.”

travis stork Study: Parents Would Rather Talk To Kids About Sex Or Drugs Than Weight

Dr. Travis Stork of "The Doctors." (credit: Frazer Harrison/GettyImages)

Nearly one-fourth (22% to be exact) of parents say they are uncomfortable talking with their children about weight. For parents of kids 8-12, only sex was easier to discuss. And apparently parents of teens would rather talk to their kids about sex, smoking, drugs or alcohol.

The findings come from Kelton Research, sponsored by WebMD and Sanford Health.

More than 1290 parents of children 8-17 were surveyed as were 1,078 kids between 8-17. Nearly 40 percent of all parents think obesity is an issue or risk for at least one of their children. They see weight, according to the survey, as being potentially more dangerous than drugs or cigarettes.

Doctors interviewed for the survey agreed weight is one of the most important topics parents can discuss with their children…at any age. Especially with what has been described as an obesity epidemic among American kids. Nearly 20 percent of parents felt it was the doctor’s job to talk to their kid’s about weight whereas only 1 percent of parents thought doctors should talk to children about sex, alcohol or drugs.

Like Stork, the conventional wisdom of the doctors interviewed is to make discussions about weight supportive and not judgmental. Make healthy choices fun, he suggests. Make exercise fun. And Stork adds, “get kids involved in healthy cooking and activities. Make it a discussion while you’re out on a walk together.”

For more on the study, click here.


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