My 11-Year Old Boy Thinks He’s Fat

Dear Ms. Finn,

I have an 11 year old boy. He is not obese, but tends to lean on the heavier side.

Recently he was invited to a boy/girl pool party and refused to go because he considers himself “fat”.

I encouraged him to go and he still refused. I tried to convince him that he wasn’t fat and that this was, after all, his best friend’s B-day party. I didn’t make him go. Instead, we sat down and discussed that if his weight is this bothersome that he would either need to accept himself as is and be comfortable with it, or watch what he eats in order to lose the weight he felt he needed to.

I’m worried that his may become a problem for him. He is very active- he plays soccer twice a week, golf at least once a week and scouts.

I’m concerned and need some advice on where to go from here.


Ronnie had a problem, his little boy is slightly overweight and having a hard time at school. Ronnie says his son is not too much overweight and he tries to explain this and keep the boy active and healthy.

In fact Ronnie’s son doesn’t have a problem with overweight; he has a self-esteem and lack-of-confidence problem, and the reason could be coming from a dozen different directions.

The sooner Ronnie starts working on his son’s self-assurance the better and stronger the child will feel about himself and his capabilities, and the easier he will see any ‘problem’.

Self-esteem in pre-school children is very high, about 80% the experts say but by 7th Grade, it has dropped to 20% and by the time your child is in high school, they have less than 5% of that precious commodity which helps us cope with the world. All children need to be confident (and that doesn’t mean selfish or boastful) but sure of their own worth and value.

There are many books available on increasing self-esteem, confidence and worthiness in your child, and they are needed especially by the ‘overweight’ (over whose weight?!) children because society gives permission for these kids to be ridiculed, whereas in most reasonable communities, racism, sexism, and bigotry are outlawed. Fat children have no such protection – so they need to build their own – it’s called self-esteem.

The one thing I would always say to any parent with children who are bigger than average is DO NOT PUT THEM ON A WEIGHT LOSS DIET, this has been proven over the past 4 decades to add to weight in the long term, thus ensuring a chubby child will almost certainly be a fat adult. In addition, yo-yo dieting causes numerous health problems and even death.

Good Luck,

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