Should Parents Put Their Overweight Children On Diets? [DEBATE]

04/05/2012 11:22 am ET | Updated Apr 05, 2012

Before Dara-Lynn Weiss's controversial Vogue article about putting her 7-year-old daughter on a diet (and before the backlash to Dara-Lynn Weiss's controversial Vogue article) there was already a fierce debate about the proper treatment for childhood obesity.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta thought the solution was to advertise against it, using overweight kids as models. In February, Disney launched an anti-obesity attraction called "Habit Heroes" -- but the effort was roundly criticized, and the project has now been "closed for the time being." Food activists like Jamie Oliver lobby publicly to improve the quality of school food; Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign has been one of the major focuses of her tenure as First Lady.

The questions that always come up include: Should parents let kids eat what they want, even if their weight falls outside healthy limits? How closely do we need to police children's calorie intake and exercise? Are we hurting or helping young people by pointing out that they're fat? Should we even be allowed to say the word "fat"?

Below, two experts give their very different takes on the safest way to deal with children's weight problems. Dr. Joanna Dolgoff, who pointed out where Dara-Lynn Weiss went wrong here on HuffPost, believes parents should always put their overweight children on diets. WeightyMatters.ca blogger Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, who founded the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa, feels passionately that weight-loss programs for children are always wrong.

Vote on what you think below. Then, read both experts' commentary and see if they change your mind.

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