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The key to helping an obese child lose weight is not to shame them, a child paediatrician says.

In fact, it is best not to even mention obesity or weight loss and focus instead on "healthy lifestyle change".

That is the approach of Whanau Pakari, a Taranaki-based programme which was launched in 2012.

"Many people still have this assumption that children and families have got into this situation by sitting on the couch and eating junk food," said Yvonne Anderson, a paediatrician at the University of Auckland's Liggins Institute.

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"And that's simply not the case. The judgmental, stigmatising process of

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