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Talking to Kids About Body Image

Studies have shown that that teens whose parents talked to them about food with a focus on their weight or size (for example, telling them that they shouldn't eat certain foods because they would get fat) were more likely to go on extreme diets or exhibit eating-disordered behavior such as fasting, using laxatives, or binge eating. Teens whose parents focused solely on the healthfulness of foods and didn't talk about weight were less likely to have any eating problems. And already overweight kids whose parents talked to them about food with a gentle and health-focused attitude had fewer psychological, mood, and disordered-eating problems than those whose parents came off as more judgmental. "Eating disorders do have a strong hereditary factor, but while genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger," says Dr. Ovidio Bermudez. Learn more.

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