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February 1999 - Volume 2 - Issue 2

Health: How Moms Affect Body Image

by Augustus Butera from PARENTS Magazine

About 40 percent of 9- and 10-year-old girls are trying to lose weight, reports the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. And their moms may be a big part of the reason. In studying 2,400 girls, researcher George B. Schreiber found that a girl whose mother said she weighed too much was twice as likely to diet as a girl whose mother did not comment on her daughter's size. Early dieting increases the risk that a girl will develop an eating disorder, says Schreiber, and deprives her of vital nutrients.

Five Bodywise Tips:

To help your daughter feel confident about her body and eating habits, Debra Waterhouse, R.D., author of Like Mother, Like Daughter (Hyperion) offers this advice:

  • Teach her that it's natural for a woman to have extra fat in her hips, buttocks, and thighs.
  • Explain that no food is off-limits if she eats when she's hungry and stops when she's satisfied.
  • Ask her to examine her reasons for wanting to snack. Perhaps she is upset or has seen an ad for junk food.
  • Encourage her to eat nutritiously and exercise as a way to have a healthy body, not an ideally shaped one.
  • Don't make negative comments about your own body in front of her.

For More information or to order Debra Waterhouse's book, click ~~> Like Mother, Like Daughter

June 1997;1998 Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing. Reprinted from PARENTS magazine by permission.

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