Friday, September 13, 2013

Kids and Body Image

You are the most influential person in your child's life. With that said, you can promote a positive body image in your child, and it needs to start at the earliest age possible. Body image disturbances can begin as early as preschool, so it is important to check your own issues with body image. Children naturally absorb negative messages about diet, exercise, appearances, and your latest food peeve. They will begin to worry about their weight and think they should be dieting. Kids with a negative body image feel more self-conscious, anxious and isolated. They are at greater risk for excessive weight gain and for eating disorders, and weight-related teasing is a major basis for bullying.
For your kid's sake and your own, shift your focus from weight to health. Stop obsessing about numbers on the scale and concentrate on delicious nutrition and fun physical activity. Children don't need to work out; they need to play. Encourage physical activities and let them choose what interests them, whether is is sports, hip-hop dancing, or karate. The important thing is to get them moving. Teach them healthy eating habits with smart, tasty snacking ideas instead of counting calories or restricting their intake. Whatever our age or size, we feel better when we take care of our bodies.
Young people with a positive image of themselves feel more comfortable and confident in their ability to succeed. They don't obsess about  food, weight, or how others judge their appearance.
Nutrition and fitness make for great goals because they give us the energy to do all things that we want to do, and the health to enjoy our accomplishments.