The desire to be thin is reaching school-aged children, as girls as young as 6 years old express concerns about their body image and gaining weight.
In reality, no healthy child should be overly focused on her weight and neither should her parents. Weight loss can interfere with a child's growth and lead to other problems such eating disorders.
While media images influence children's behavior, kids' most significant role models are their parents. Be a positive influence on your child's mind and body alike.
- Do not worry about your child's weight and do not encourage your child to worry, either. Strive for a positive eating relationship with your child that includes healthful habits.
- Refrain from making negative comments about your own weight — or other individual's weight.
- Don't pressure your child to conform to another person's body size or shape.
- Set a good example for children in the way you manage your own weight and how you feel about your own body. Skip the lure of fad dieting yourself.
- Encourage your child to engage in daily physical activity to build muscles and coordination.
- Help your child develop the social skills, self-confidence and self-esteem that can lead to a healthy relationship with food.