DEAR HARRIETTE: My younger cousin confided something shocking to me. While I was explaining my various exercise equipment, she said that she knew what ankle weights are because her mom makes her run with them on her ankles and wrists. My cousin is 9 years old and incredibly thin. I cannot believe this happens to my cousin, and she looked so upset as she was telling me. I didn't know how to respond, and we dropped the topic. This child wouldn't lie, but I haven't spoken to my aunt in years. I'm not sure how to react to this news. I do not want my aunt to make my cousin do this, but I also can't tell someone I haven't spoken to in years how to raise her daughter. What should I do? -- Poor Cousin, Dallas
DEAR POOR COUSIN: If you believe your cousin is in danger, say something. Since she expressed distress to you, there is a chance that she needs support. Given that you haven't spoken to your aunt in years, you will need to ease into communication with her. Call her or visit if you can, and let her know that you enjoyed spending time with her daughter. Build a rapport, and then tell her that her daughter told you about her exercise routine. Get her to talk to you about the routine that they follow. Tell her about your fitness regimen to open up the discussion. When you think she is hearing you, let her know that you think that weights on a young, thin child might be excessive. Stay in touch with your cousin. If you continue to be worried, ask another family member to intervene.