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If your child has weight issues, what is the best way to deal with it? A new study out of Cornell University shows that talking about this delicate subject with your kids could have long-lasting effects.
The study surveyed 500 women aged 20-35 about their body image. Respondents were asked to recall how frequently their parents commented about their weight when they were kids.
Those with a healthy weight were less likely to recall their parents commenting about their weight. Those who did recall their parents commenting about their weight were less satisfied with their body image as adults.
"One of the best ways we can promote healthy body image, self-esteem, not being overweight, not developing an eating disorder is for you as parent to be healthy," says psychotherapist Mike Dow. Kids pick up on everything and if parents are setting a good example, it's likely those habits will be learned. Dow also cautions that parents should be careful to watch the way you talk about your own body image around your kids. If you say, "I look so fat in this dress," or "I need to go on a diet," those habits and feelings can also be learned and mimicked.
Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra is discouraged when she reads studies like this because parents are inundated with reports that tell parents anything you say or do to your kid is going to screw them up. Batra feels that if a parent has a true concern that their child is unhealthy it's the parents obligation to address it with him or her.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork agrees that when you're dealing with kids, focusing on the positive is the way to go. He encourages parents to not be afraid to address things like health but when speaking directly about weight be very careful and focus on the positives. Focus on little improvements, and always be a great role model.
Watch as plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon shares a very personal story about a conversation with his own daughter about her weight.