Kids' body image shaped by parents, expert says

February 26, 2014
Kids' body image shaped by parents, expert says
Doctor offers tips for helping children develop healthy eating habits, self-image.

(HealthDay)—Parents play a crucial role in helping children develop a positive body image and healthy eating habits, an expert says.

"Sometimes we parents forgot how important our words, thoughts, and feelings are in the lives of our kids," Dr. Aaron Krasner, director of the adolescent transitional living program at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Conn., said in a news release.

"'We make the weather in our homes,' a wiser-than-me parent once told me," Krasner added. "I think it's true—especially when it comes to eating behaviors and . As parents, we must be mindful of our own relationship with our bodies, how we eat, and the potential impact on our kids."

He noted that 80 percent of 10-year-old children are afraid of being fat, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

To mark National Eating Disorders Week (Feb. 23 to March 1), Krasner outlined the following ways that parents can help their children:

  • Don't criticize yourself or others about weight or shape in front of youngsters.
  • Don't make negative comments about food, such as "I can't eat potatoes because they're carbs." Instead, teach children the importance of good nutrition and exercise without mentioning weight.
  • Praise children on their talents and achievements.
  • Explain to youngsters that weight gain and changes in body shape are a natural part of the growing process.
  • Talk to children about what they see in the media and remind them of things such as that only 5 percent of American women have the so-called "ideal" body type portrayed in ads.

"At the end of the day, parents are the most influential role models in a child's life, so be mindful of your words and actions. They may be listening when you least expect it," Krasner said.

Explore further: Parent–child eating disorder perceptions investigated

More information: The U.S. Office on Women's Health has more about body image.

Related Stories

Parent–child eating disorder perceptions investigated

December 11, 2013
Perth eating disorder specialists have uncovered a wide disparity in the reporting of eating disorder symptoms between parents and their children.

New obesity weapon: Kids teaching kids

February 10, 2014
(HealthDay)—When older kids teach younger children about nutrition and the benefits of exercise, the little ones seem to lose weight and gain knowledge about healthy living, Canadian researchers report.

Many parents of obese children underestimate their weight

February 3, 2014
(HealthDay)—Half the parents of overweight or obese children don't think their kids have a weight problem, a new analysis reveals.

Parents play a role in teen eating disorders, study finds

October 4, 2013
The ways parents or caregivers interact with children around mealtimes can have unintended consequences, according to a new report in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The study found that teenagers' negative attitudes toward ...

Parents who set, stick to rules may help kids stay slim

November 27, 2013
(HealthDay)—Parents who set firm rules about behaviors like TV viewing, dinner time and physical activity tend to have children of healthier weights, a new Australian study finds.

'Clean your plate' orders from parents may backfire for kids

April 22, 2013
(HealthDay)—Although you might think being a member of the "clean plate club" is something that stops when a child is young, new research suggests that up to two-thirds of parents still encourage teenagers to finish all ...

Recommended for you

Breastfed babies are less likely to have eczema as teenagers, study shows

November 13, 2017
Babies whose mothers had received support to breastfeed exclusively for a sustained period from birth have a 54% lower risk of eczema at the age of 16, a new study led by researchers from King's College London, Harvard University, ...

Obesity during pregnancy may lead directly to fetal overgrowth, study suggests

November 13, 2017
Obesity during pregnancy—independent of its health consequences such as diabetes—may account for the higher risk of giving birth to an atypically large infant, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health. ...

Working to reduce brain injury in newborns

November 10, 2017
Research-clinicians at Children's National Health System led the first study to identify a promising treatment to reduce or prevent brain injury in newborns who have suffered hypoxia-ischemia, a serious complication in which ...

Why do some kids die under dental anesthesia?

November 9, 2017
Anesthesiologists call for more research into child deaths caused by dental anesthesia in an article published online by the journal Pediatrics.

Probability calculations—even babies can master it

November 3, 2017
One important feature of the brain is its ability to make generalisations based on sparse data. By learning regularities in our environment it can manage to guide our actions. As adults, we have therefore a vague understanding ...

Early childhood adversities linked to health problems in tweens, teens

October 30, 2017
Adverse experiences in childhood—such as the death of a parent, growing up in poverty, physical or sexual abuse, or having a parent with a psychiatric illness—have been associated with physical and mental health problems ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.