Childhood obesity is a pretty heated and controversial subject. Of course, good parents want the best for their kids and would like to help them achieve good health. However, is strict dieting necessary? Are we teaching our kids to place more emphasis on their appearance than their health by doing so? In this article from Anderson Cooper, mother Dara-Lynn Weiss is interviewed for putting her 7 year old daughter on a strict diet. What Dara-Lynn has to say is very interesting…especially in the second video where she confesses that she herself had an unhealthy obsession with dieting and using unsafe practices such as laxatives and vomiting. This is really important, because for many teenage girls, this is just “normal” – and it should not be considered so. And for parents, it’s crucial to point out that their behavior can be transferred onto and learned by the child. And below, Dr. Robyn Silverman gives some great tips about how to give kids a healthy outlook on food and their bodies. Dara-Lynn Weiss explained why she decided to put her overweight 7-year-old daughter on a strict diet, and said she did it because of health-related reasons: her child has high blood pressure. Dara-Lynn said she was approached by Vogue magazine to write an article about it, and even authored a book documenting her experience, “The Heavy.” Co-host Kimora Lee Simmons also commented on the situation, saying Dara-Lynn’s move to put her story on the glossy pages of Vogue seemed contradictory, since high fashion magazines are covered with rail-thin supermodels. Dara-Lynn’s decision to put her young child on a diet was certainly controversial among our “Anderson Live” audience members and social media fans, with many questioning whether the mom did for her own selfish reasons, or after consideration of her child’s best interests. Dara-Lynn revealed that she was also an overweight child, and struggled with her weight for many years. Other audience members applauded the mom for bravely putting her story out there, and for instilling smart and healthy habits in her daughter at such a young age. Do you think this mom did the right thing? Are you concerned about how your child perceives weight and health? Dr. Robyn Silverman, body image expert and author of “Good Girls Don’t Get Fat,” shares her top tips for raising a child with a healthy outlook on weight.

How to Raise Your Child with a Healthy Outlook on Weight

#1 Make Your House a Safe Haven Make sure your your house a safe haven; a place where you’re not talking about fat all the time. There are enough messages out there giving your children weight noise, they don’t need it from you too! Make it a “fat talk”-free zone!

#2 Send Congruent Messages Watch what you do and what you say, and make sure they are congruent. Don’t complain about your weight and talk about how you shouldn’t have cake, and then tell your child he or she shouldn’t worry about what they’re eating. Make sure you’re saying things like, “I like being healthy. I like being strong.” If this is the script you want in your child’s head, you need to make sure your actions match the mission.

#3 Make Sure Your Child Understands Eating Healthy Make sure your child understands what it means to eat in a healthy way. This doesn’t mean restricting calories and counting fat grams — it’s about being aware of having a balanced diet. A balanced diet, not dieting. Being healthy is eating veggies, fruits, and making choices about food that will nourish us.

#4 Health Does Not Equal Weight Help your child understand what it means to be healthy, and that it isn’t what you weigh. Instead, it’s about eating nourishing foods, drinking enough water, blowing off stress in productive ways, and getting enough exercise.