The Doctors discuss one mother who is getting backlash for sharing that she weighs her six-year-old daughter every day. OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry says apparently this woman weighs everyone in her family and says she is doing it because her daughter has been bullied for her weight at school. “In my opinion, this is like bullying her at home too,” says Dr. Nita.
Psychotherapist Dr. Mike Dow shares that in research, it is healthy for adults to weigh themselves about once a week, but doing it obsessively every day is a red flag. He says doing it to children can be very unhealthy and dangerous. He adds that in families, anxiety and eating disorders are contagious. Research shows that when a parent has either of these disorders, their children are more likely to have them too. Dr. Dow fears this mom has these issues and she is putting her daughter at a high risk of developing an eating or mental health disorder.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon agrees and says the mother probably does not realize the long-term consequences of what she is doing in terms of her daughter developing as a woman with a healthy self-identity and self-image.
Dr. Nita also thinks this child may have issues when she grows up. She feels she may either resent the scale and eat whatever she wants or go to the other extreme, where she has an unhealthy obsession with the scale.
Dr. Dow's advice for parents is if they are worried, to let health professionals be their treatment team so parents do not have to do it all on their own. Dr. Nita shares that one in five school kids will be impacted by obesity so it is still important to address this issue but also, to let children know that they should love themselves and have positive body images.
Dr. Ordon encourages parents to lead by example with good healthy habits. Dr. Dow agrees and says what parents do will trickle down to their kids. In regards to your children’s habits, “It’s finding that sweet spot between policing and being totally permissive,” says Dr. Dow. Be that healthy person that you would want your children to become.