In society our parents are probably the most important people who impact ones life. They are the ones who provide us with our life skills and teach us something new everyday. Helping us grow into the world , parents are the ones we look up to the most.
More importantly, parents are always commenting on things about themselves or their children. Who would have thought that certain suggestions or comments could lead their children to an eating disorder? I sure would never think that. But it is happening.
In Minneapolis, this concern finally found its way into a study by the University of Minnessota. Comments from parents focusing on their children’s weight, parents’ dieting behaviors, and teasing by family members may contribute to eating disorders in adolescent girls. Uh oh, be careful what you say parental controls. Comments made by mothers were associated with numerous disordered eating behaviors. The researchers suggest that parents do not talk about weight at the family dinner table or in general. Mothers worry about their daughter’s weight and tend to tell them that dieting can help lose the extra pounds. Also, talking about their own weight can have an impact on their child as well. This is also known as weight- teasing.
“While parents who are concerned about their children’s weight may encourage dieting with the best of intentions, they need to know that talking about weight loss may have harmful consequences for their children’s health,” said lead author Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D. “Instead, I encourage parents to look for changes that can be made in the home environment to support healthier eating and physical activity behaviors among youth.”
The University researchers analyzed 365 adolescent girls, much of them overweight, found that 45% reported that their encouraged weight loss. Mothers who encourage their daughters to diet are found more likely to overeat and engage in extreme weight control behaviors than girls who didn’t have mothers interfering or commenting on their weight. Vomiting, taking laxatives, or taking diet pills are also known as extreme weight control behaviors. These are common behaviors that girls find themselves taking to lose weight. Two thirds of the girls reported that their mothers talked about their own weight or dieting and 40% reported their dads dieted or talked about their weight.
Lastly, family weight teasing proves to also be an outstanding issue when it comes to weight issues with girls. From the study, 58% of girls stated that they were teased by a family member. Weight teasing was strongly associated with higher body mass indexes, body dissatisfaction, unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors and binge eating.
This leaves me with this to say to the parents, when talking with your child, keep it positive. Try and talk about something productive that will bring a positive and healthy vibe rather than something that will leave them with a feeling of not worthy enough or just low self-esteem.