By Bob Condor

It starts early, this business of feeling fat. Some of us guys might joke in conversation about the pivotal moment before a night out when our wives ask, “Do I look fat in this?”

The joking stops if daughters ask. At least it should. Too many young girls who are beautiful, healthy, smart, athletic and, well, still kids worry about being fat. Don’t take my opinion as the only proof. A new study of 7,000 boys and girls in Germany, ages 11 to 17, found that about 55 percent of the girls considered themselves fat and more than a third of the boys thought the same.

More importantly, the German researchers discovered that the teens ho felt they were fat—and in fact are within normal, healthy weight range—actually graded out in the questionnaire methodology in perceived quality of life than teens who were obese but not overly focused on it. On a scale from identifying as “far too thin” or “far too fat,” the teens were most compromised when they answered “far too fat.” Teens who answered that there weight was “just right” experienced the best quality of life no matter if they were healthy weight or not.

So raising children who feel good about themselves is documented as good for their health. It doesn’t mean that parents ignore an overweight child’s habits that might be contributing to extra pounds, just that maybe any action steps don’t include making the teen feel self-conscious or inferior. Besides, another new study showed

that, surprise, teens don’t react positively—or as desired—when parents insist they go on diets or eat more healthy foods.

Think the German numbers are somehow skewed? Similar research on American teens turns up, drum roll, please, oh, 55 percent.

One more eye-opener: Normal-weight kids who considered themselves “too fat” or “far too fat” scored lowest on quality of family relationships. It could be that parents with normal healthy weight children either (A) think their child/girl needs to be even thinner and (B) are worried the now lean teen might become chubby (perhaps mirroring their own body changes as adults. Some parents might think both A and B.

It’s time for option C.

Weight got you feeling depressed? click here

“Bob Condor is the Daily Health Blogger for Barton Publishing . He is also the Living Well columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer . He covers natural health and quality of life issues and writes regularly for national magazines, including Life, Esquire, Parade, Self, and Outside. He is a former syndicated health columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of six books, including “The Good Mood Diet” and “Your Prostate Cancer Survivors' Guide.” He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two 11-year-old kids.”