Body image is how we feel about our own bodies. Children and tends can develop a positive or negative image of their own bodies regardless of their weight. Parents and other role models are responsible for promoting a positive body image.
Young people with positive self-image are more confident and comfortable in their own skin, negating the need to count calories, worry about food and/or the weight. If kids have a negative self image they can feel more self-conscious or full of doubt as a result. They are at greater risk for disordered eating and eating disorders.
How to promote positive body image:
1. Check in with your own image of your body.
How parents feel about their bodies has a powerful influence on children. Avoid commenting negatively about your own bodies or talk of diet or need to lose weight.
2. Focus on healthful behaviors, not your weight.
Shift your focus, stop obsessing about weight and feel free to be a scale free household. Children don’t need to work out, rather they need to be active and play.
3. Be aware of how other people comment or bully children and their bodies.
Have an open dialogue with your child about how it is not okay to comment on people’s bodies. Check in with your child’s school to address any bullying.
4. Talk about body image and the media.
There is a lot of talk about what the perfect body is. The media has done some harm in the area of diet culture. Promoting weight loss, photoshopping, promoting certain types of bodies, etc.
Written by Taylor Aasand MPH, RDN.
Taylor specializes with teen and child nutrition, disordered eating, eating disorders, selective eating, and intuitive eating. Schedule your initial or follow-up appointment with Taylor by clicking the button below.