According to a recent study, family conversations about losing weight and being thin can push teenagers to use unhealthy weight loss measures such as skipping meals and laxative use. Researchers also observed fewer incidents of kids taking unhealthy weight loss choices among families who discussed health eating without talking about weight loss.
Better Conversations with Teenagers
Jerica Berge led the research at the medical school of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. According to her, it’s essential for family conversations to put emphasis on healthy eating for healthier bodies and stronger bones and not for size and weight.
In past studies, experts found that a parent teasing a child about losing weight can have harmful effects on the kid. There were no suggestions, however, on what parents should tell their kids who need to lose weight.
The Results of the Study
Berge and her team surveyed 2,800 students and their parents in middle and high schools. For normal weight teens, 28 percent of mothers discussed health eating while 33 percent talked about the need to lose weight. For overweight children, 15 percent of mothers had conversations on healthy eating while 60 percent talked about losing weight.
The results showed 64 percent of overweight kids who had conversation with their mothers on losing weight took on unsettling weight loss behaviors. Only 41 percent of overweight kids used unhealthy weight loss techniques when parents talked about healthy eating alone. On normal weight children, only 39 percent used unhealthy weight loss techniques after parents talked to them about weight.
Berge emphasized that parents should focus on giving a healthy message to their children for better outlook on proper eating and weight loss.