Parental Focus on Weight Loss May Harm Teens


eating-disorders-teensSelf esteem and confidence start in the home and parents need to be careful what they say around their kids as far as body image.  The pressure to be in shape and look like magazine models does not only affect older women, teenage girls look up to these models too.  Parents who engaged their children in discussion about healthy eating habits offered them a protective effect against disordered eating.

Overweight children, dieting, unhealthy weight control behaviors, extreme unhealthy weight control behaviors, and binge eating were significantly more prevalent in those with one or more parents who talked to their children about controlling weight or size versus eating healthy, they wrote online in JAMA Pediatrics.

A recent study looked at the conversations parents were having with their children about eating habits and weight gain.  The results indicate  “parental conversations about weight were associated with the highest prevalence of disordered eating behaviors in adolescents.”

The authors concluded that healthcare professionals should educate parents “that weight conversations are associated with disordered eating behaviors in adolescents, while conversations about healthful eating may be helpful to their adolescents in regard to dieting and disordered eating behaviors.”

Focusing on healthy eating is more beneficial in the long run than focusing on a certain size and parents should encourage healthy eating.

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