London: Two out of three parents fear that talking to their kids about their weight might give them an eating disorder.
The findings come from a survey conducted by the healthy lifestyles organisation Mend (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition. Do it!) and the Netmums parenting website to mark National Childhood Obesity Week.
The latest figures from the schools child measurement programme show a third of 11-year-olds are overweight or obese - so fat it threatens their health, the Daily Mail reports.
More than a third of parents (37 percent) feel that talking to their children about their weight might lower their self-esteem. Two thirds of parents want more support in talking to their children about weight, increasing to 85 percent of those with fat children.
Almost three quarters of parents with overweight children said they found it difficult to help them stay healthy, mainly because they wanted to eat fatty and sugary foods.
Although they often talked to them about their eating habits - asking them to eat less junk food and more fruit and vegetables - more than half had never talked to them about their weight.
More than 1,000 parents with a child aged five to 16 responded to Netmums' Let's Talk About Weight survey, with one in six (15 percent) reporting that their child was overweight.
A third of all parents identified their children's weight by looking at them or comparing them with others their age, rather than measuring it or getting it confirmed by a doctor.
Research shows that sizing up' a child by sight alone often results in parents of fat youngsters wrongly believing they are a healthy weight.
Paul Sacher of Mend said: "It can be very difficult for parents to tell if their child is a healthy weight or not simply by looking at them."