Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Parents--Be careful in discussing weight with teens

Don't do what we did in my family. Everyone was normal weight but me. My father was an obsessive runner before the term jogging was invented. My mother was a nutritionist. Can you see this one coming?

We never had a calm discussion about weight. It was a 15-year horror show. I was fat then and still am.

So it's not a shocker to me to learn that the Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics says that conversations between 'rents and teens that focus on size and weight lead to more unhealthy eating.

The study by University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, researchers also found that overweight or obese adolescents whose mothers engaged in conversations that were focused only on healthful eating behaviors were less likely to diet and use unhealthy weight-control behaviors (UWCBs).

For this study--dieting is a negative.

The study used data from two linked population-based studies and included surveys completed by adolescents and parents. The study’s final sample consisted of 2,348 adolescents (average age, 14.4 years) and 3,528 parents.

Among overweight adolescents whose mothers engaged in healthful eating conversations compared with those whose mothers did not engage in healthful eating conversations, there was a significantly lower prevalence of dieting (40.1 percent vs. 53.4 percent, respectively) and UWCBs (40.6 percent vs. 53.2 percent, respectively), according to the study results.

The study also found that adolescents whose fathers engaged in weight conversations were significantly more likely to engage in dieting and UWCBs than adolescents whose fathers did not.

The bottom line? Pardon the pun. You may wish to talk about healthful eating--for better skin, more energy, variety, cuter duds, and so on, rather than shaming or insulting or namecalling. My father once said I looked like a baby elephant.

I am an old lady now and never forgot that.

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