Five Tips to a Healthier Body Image for Your Child
The goal of most parents is to raise children that have a positive self-image and are healthy. Yet, many find this challenging in such a media and appearance-centric society. Children are mistakenly learning at a very young age that the outer appearance is what matters. The impact this line of thinking has on young minds is truly heartbreaking.
Laura has always been an independent thinker and leader of the pack. Her excellent eating habits and physical aptitude were a source of pride for her family. Yet something recently has changed. Laura has adopted a strict exercise routine and is obsessively counting calories and watching what she eats. She skips meals on occasion and has become less involved with her friends. Her parents are concerned she may have an eating disorder. They try to talk with her about their concerns, but Laura quickly shuts the conversation down. Her parents are hoping they can get through to her, as they know the devastating and sometimes fatal impact eating disorders can have.
More and more children are becoming obsessed with their weight, which often results in eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia. More than 10 million females and 1 million males struggle with eating disorders in the US. Change has to start at home, and sooner, rather than later.
Here are five tips to help your family win the fight against poor body image in a beauty-centered world.
- Begin teaching your child at an early age the importance of a healthy body. Healthy doesn’t mean skinny – healthy means strong.
- Teach children to value their bodies – no matter the shape. They should learn to be grateful for what it allows them to do – run, walk, swim, bike, etc.
- Keep your own insecurities in check. Your children are watching. It is important to emulate the behaviors you want to see in them. Avoid talking about things you don’t like about your body. Make a list of the things you do like and read the list daily.
- Teach children the importance of a healthy diet. Try to limit the amount of processed foods in the home. Keep lots of fruit and veggies at arms reach and when they ask for food, have them start with something healthy. Chances are they will fill up and won’t want anything else.
- Keep children active! Whether participating in sports or just playing outside, physical activity is vital to your child’s well being. Find an activity they are interested in, and support it.
Your child’s health and safety is important to us. If you have concerns that your child may have an eating disorder, please contact our office at 910-486-5437 to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric providers. If you would like to learn more about Rainbow Pediatrics, visit us online.