Do you complain about how you need to lose weight while your kids are within earshot? If so, you might consider holding your tongue after hearing what Babble Executive Editor Lori Leibovich and Dr. David Katz had to say about fostering healthy eating habits in kids yesterday on “ABC News Now.”
Parents need to be aware of the language they use when speaking about food. “We tend to forget that our kids are around when we’re complaining about the way we look,” Leibovich told ABC News. “All of those messages get filtered down to our kids. Even if we don’t think they’re listening, they hear it.”
In a recent poll of 500 moms, Babble found that 79% percent of them haven’t yet talked to their kids about body image.
“It made us aware of the fact that there need to be more conversations about this. Parents are afraid of putting too much emphasis on food for fear of getting their children to focus on it too much,” Leibovich said. “But they’re also afraid to not talk about it because everyone knows about the dramatic increase in childhood obesity.”
A stunning 10% of girls are “vulnerable” to eating disorders, according to Dr. Katz, who acknowledged that the real number is probably much higher than surveys indicate.
The problem is that parents get conflicting messages about how to approach their kids’ eating. Michelle Obama’s recently-launched “anti-obesity” campaign urges parents to monitor their children’s diets. Meanwhile, eating disorder experts warn that controlling kids’ food intake can create an array of issues.
What to do? There are no easy answers, but for a start, you can check out Babble’s tips on how to encourage healthy attitudes about food.