Dec 31, 2012
TomAto, TomatOH! Presents Discussing Weight with Your Kids
By Mama S. LeDish
For as much discussion as there is about the obesity epidemic, there is equally as much discussion about body image. On one hand we are taught that we need to eat healthier, exercise more, but we also know that the pressure from fashion magazines, movie stars and let’s face it, junior high girls, is unhealthy as well.
The findings that come from Kelton Research surveys of 1,299 parents of kids ages 8 to 17 and of 1,078 kids ages 8 to 17, sponsored by WebMD and Sanford Health, confirmed parents are uncomfortable discussing weight with their children. No other topic, not drugs, sex or alcohol made them more uncomfortable. Clearly, we don’t want our children developing a complex about their body, so how do we talk about weight?
The first step is to determine if your child has a weight problem and the best place to start this conversation is with your pediatrician. The second thing to take into consideration is your child’s age and what language is appropriate to use. Finally, whether your children are overweight, underweight or just right, they all must develop a healthy relationship with food and exercise in order to continue down the right path. [NOTE FROM NON EXPERT MAMA G: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO IS MIND HOW YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR OWN WEIGHT AS WELL AS OTHERS...AND THAT INCLUDES CELEBRITIES!]
This week’s TomAto, TomatOH! presents five perspectives on talking to kids about weight including the importance of having the conversation, how NOT to have the conversation and how to work with your pediatrician to prevent obesity.
1) According to Abigail Natenshon in her article on Empoweredparents.com, “Parents may inadvertently and unwittingly contribute to their child’s body image issues. Disparaging or critical parental messages sent to a child about his or her appearance may create or reinforce body image concerns, as well as a lack of self-acceptance, poor self-esteem, and food fears and obsessions. When parents harbor unresolved weight-related and body image issues of their own, these issues may be passed down to children as a legacy, from generation to generation.”
2) According to Daniel J. DeNoon on WebMD Health News, “Doctors say it’s the most important thing parents can discuss with their kids. Yet both parents and kids would rather talk about anything else — including drugs and teen sex — than weight. Nearly a quarter (22%) of parents are uncomfortable discussing the risks of being overweight with their kids. For parents of kids ages 8 to 12, only sex is a more uncomfortable topic.”
3) According to WebMD.com, “If you have an overweight child, it is very important that you allow him or her to know that you will be supportive. Children’s feelings about themselves often are based on their parents’ feelings about them and if you accept your children at any weight, they will be more likely to feel good about themselves. It is also important to talk to your children about their weight, allowing them to share their concerns with you.”
4) Dr. Timi Gustafson writes in her article, “What is badly needed is a heightened awareness that childhood obesity has become a serious crisis with the potential of destroying the future of an entire generation. What is needed is a sense of urgency to take on this threat on every level and make it a priority for government, the medical community, parents, teachers and the kids themselves who suffer the consequences if we don’t stop this trend. ‘Preventing obesity needs to be a lot bigger, “ wrote Dr. Jasik in her report. “It requires efforts from the whole healthcare system and the community.’”
5) Our own Mama G thinks it’s most important to mind how YOU talk about your weight and even that of celebrities.
“Do not speak about yourself as fat. Do not make negative comments about your body. Do not make negative comments about how much you have eaten. Enjoy all foods in moderation and when you do have a piece of cake don’t talk about it as if you’ve committed a crime.
And DO NOT SPEAK OF OTHERS AS FAT! In addition to this being rude and uncomfortable to all those around you, this will hurt your own self-image more than you realize because it makes YOU more self-conscious about your own body.”
NOTE: The opinions expressed by the bloggers on Mama LeDish are theirs alone and do not represent the opinions of Fifi Delish Holding or its subsidiaries, affiliates, sponsors. We do not claim to be experts who have all the answers, we’re just sorting through these issues just like everyone else. Fifi Delish Holding and its subsidiaries are not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the bloggers or the content we share from the web.