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  • Writer's pictureEmiLeigh Whitehouse

Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture

Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture is an incredible book by journalist and author Virginia Sole-Smith. In this work, Virginia exposes the insidious ways diet culture harms a child’s physical and mental wellbeing. She argues that it is not our children who need fixing but our society itself.


The book begins by explaining what diet culture is and how it works. She quickly introduces families targeted by diet culture, the role cultural identity has played in pursuing these families, and the impact this has had on them. This book explores how diet culture harms children, from increasing their risk of eating disorders to lowering their self-esteem. This book also beautifully discusses how diet culture is embedded in our society, from our schools and doctors’ offices to our media and social media.

Book cover for "Fat Talk"
Book cover for "Fat Talk"

The book's second half is focused on practical advice for parents on raising body-positive children in a diet-obsessed world. The author encourages parents to challenge their own body biases, model intuitive eating and mindful movement habits, and to talk to their kids about these topics and diet culture. Additionally, resources are provided to parents concerned about their children’s weight or eating habits.


This book is highly recommended for any parent who wishes to help their child develop a solid relationship with themselves, their body, and how they nourish themselves. It is also a helpful book for anyone curious about diet culture's impact on our society. This book is well-researched, provides empirical support for the information presented, and gives practical and actionable skills for navigating a diet-obsessed society. It is also very inclusive and affirming, emphasizing language that helps readers understand shifts to move away from diet culture. Here’s what our clinicians have to say about this book:

"The book helps us better recognize how societal messages about body image and weight influence children's self-esteem and body image development. Fat Talk empowers parents to raise resilient, body-positive children in the face of pervasive diet culture. " - Jenna DeVore, MSW

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