For many students, back to school means shopping for new clothes, purchasing new school supplies, and being reunited with their friends after the summer vacation.

For students who are overweight, however, the back-to-school period can be a dreaded time, fraught with anxiety and self-doubt.

There are ways to help students, and their parents, face down their anxiety. At, there are thoughtful tips for parents with ways they can help their overweight children return to school with confidence. Tips include everything from cutting out the tags of a child's new back to school clothes ("Don't let a number define your child") to having a student bring lunch from home to avoid eating the typically high-calorie school lunch offerings, and shopping for flattering and fashionable back to school clothes. 

Overweight students especially need a confidence boost at this time of year, a time that finds most students anxious about the return to school. For some overweight kids, their sense of confidence may be particularly low if they tried to lose weight over the summer and weren't successful.

All kids deserve to look and feel their best upon returning to school and facing the challenges of a new academic year.

-- By Carol Brooks Ball