If your mom was big on dieting, you may pay the price

(WXYZ) - Good intentions sometimes does more harm than good.  And that may be the case when it comes to encouraging your kids to diet.  A new study says it can lead to negative consequences that may also affect your children’s children.

You know it’s not uncommon for parents to encourage their overweight kids to diet.  However this new study that followed over 550 teenagers for 15 years found it can lead to lower body satisfaction and eating disorders.   Teens whose parents gave them the “you need to diet” talk were more likely to be overweight as adults.  Also 72 percent were more likely to binge eat and 79 percent were more likely to have poor weight control behaviors.

I often joke about becoming my parents as I get older, but this study shows that teens whose parents wanted them to diet were 50% more likely to push their own kids to diet too. It really shows how easily our behaviors can be influenced by our family. 

I remember how my parents raised me and now I use their wisdom to raise my own two boys and teen daughter.  We don’t focus on weight in our house.  Instead when cooking with my family I use it as an opportunity to talk about vitamins and nutritional content that’s in the food and how it positively affects us. And here are my prescriptions for other ways to help your kids.

Partha’s RX

  1. Focus on food as a way to nurture your body.  Explain how nutritious food is important for overall health, how it makes us physically stronger, gives us energy and helps your memory and concentration.
  2. Parents need to be good role models and eat a well-balanced diet.  Don’t skip meals, take supplements or go on the latest fad diet – your kids are watching.
  3. If your child is overweight, don’t tease or point this out as shaming doesn’t work.  But discussing the health benefits of food can be very protective when it comes to future weight gain.
  4. Don’t be afraid to get help.  Registered dietitians can help the entire family learn about healthier eating.
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