Dieting of Mothers Can Harm Their Kids
Overweight and obesity are undesirable as they can cause many health issues including diabetes, high blood cholesterol levels, heart disease, etc. People who are overweight or obese should not hesitate to put themselves on diet in order to lower or avoid the risk of getting heart related problems.
As mother, your dieting habits can have a bad influence on your children, especially when your dieting is based on body image and not health. Some research indicates that youngsters learn attitude about dieting through observation. This means that some youngsters may develop an unhealthy fixation on body image.
As obesity rates climb among children, parents are always warned about the dangers of junk food and lack of exercise, yet there is little mention about parents who carefully count every calorie that crosses their lips. That type of obsession can be destructive as youngsters may concentrate on weight issues while overlooking the energy and nutrition they need for their growth. While fathers also play an important role in shaping children’s attitudes about food, research has focused primarily on women and their daughters, since females are more likely to diet and worry about the body image.
One study published in 2005 by researchers at the Harvard Medical School found that frequent dieting by mothers was associated with frequent dieting by their adolescent daughters. The study also found that girls with mothers who had weight concerns were more likely to develop anxieties about their own bodies.
A study published in the Journal of American Dietetic Association reported that 5 year-old girls whose mothers dieted were twice as likely to be aware of dieting and weight-loss strategies as girls whose mothers did not diet. Dieting of the mothers can create a marker of how important weight is in the household.
It is not easy for parents to walk the line between encouraging healthy habits and not making an issue of weight, especially with parents already bearing the blame for rising obesity rates among children.
The best strategy is to lead by
example. A mother living in Albany does just that. She threw dieting out the
window long ago and has made fitness a part of family life. The 52-year-old runs
marathons and her 15-year-old daughter is on the track team. She tries not to
keep heavy-duty junk food in the house but does not make a big deal about it,
and is okay with things like pretzels and popcorn.
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