How Not to Drive Your Kids to an Eating Disorder

Scale SurpriseEvery parent wishes for their child to be healthier, but sometimes what we say in regards to weight issues can cause more damage than we intended. Researchers at University of Minnesota Medical School have concluded that saying the wrong thing to your child about weight issues could drive them to an eating disorder in the future.

At the mention of eating disorder, the study did not just mean bulimia or anorexia. They found that many individuals were at a greater risk for unhealthy dieting, binging, and more.

So how do you, as a parent, keep your child healthy without driving them to an eating disorder? We have a couple of ideas to try at home.

  1. Don’t Make it a Numbers Game: Kids and teens shouldn’t have to worry about how many calories they are eating or what the number on the scale says. Both of these numbers don’t tell the whole picture. For example, 140-pounds can look significantly different on a person who eats clean and workouts out, and one who doesn’t. The 140 on the scale does not show a person’s muscle mass, water retention, or fat percentage. This is why parents should just encourage their children to make healthier choices, such as an apple over a bag of chips, and water over soda.
  2. Lead by Example: You cannot expect your child to eat healthy if you don’t. Show them how to eat healthier and how to cook healthier. Show them how to make smarter decisions at restaurants. By making healthy eating and regular exercise a part of your daily life, it will naturally rub off on your children. 
  3. Don’t Harass: Your child doesn’t need another bully in his or her life. Avoid “innocent” name-calling and inferring that if they lost weight then things would be better. Parents do this all the time without thinking about it. A simple comment of, “if you stopped eating so much ice cream, then you wouldn’t be unhappy with how you look” doesn’t make your child feel better. Make sure that family members don’t make negative comments when they visit either.

Living a healthy lifestyle takes time to develop. Your child is not going to want to be healthier overnight. However, with the right encouragement and healthy changes amongst the whole family, you will help your child develop a healthy relationship with food and exercise.


Story Credit, Image Credit: scale suprise by Picture Youth. Used under Creative Commons license.

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.