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Parents Should Avoid Comments on Daughter’s Weight

Parents Should Avoid Comments on Daughter’s Weight

New research suggests parents should not discuss weight with a daughter, even if she is at a healthy weight.

Investigators from the Cornell Food & Brand Lab found that the less a parent comments on weight to a daughter, the less likely she is to be dissatisfied with her weight as an adult.

The findings show that women who recall their parents commenting on their weight are more prone to being overweight and are less satisfied with their weight as adults.

“Commenting on a woman’s weight is never a good idea, even when they are young girls,” says lead author Brian Wansink, Ph.D., and author of “Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life.”

The research findings appear in the journal Eating & Weight Disorders.

In the study, 501 women between 20 and 35 years old were surveyed about their body image and asked to recall how frequently their parent(s) commented about their weight.

Those with a healthy BMI were 27 percent less likely to recall their parents commenting on their weight and 28 percent less likely to recall parents commenting on eating too much compared to women whose BMI indicated they were overweight.

Importantly, both overweight and healthy weight women who did recall their parents commenting on their weight as youths were less satisfied with their weight as adults.

Researchers believe this indicates that weight related comments can be damaging to body image regardless of weight.

These findings suggest that commenting about girls’ weight can have a negative impact later in life.

“If you’re worried about your child’s weight, avoid criticizing them or restricting food. Instead, nudge healthy choices and behaviors by giving them freedom to choose for themselves and by making the healthier choices more appealing and convenient,” Wansink said.

“After all, it’s the choices that children make for themselves that will lead to lifelong habits.”

Source: Cornell Food & Brand Lab
 
Girl with scales photo by shutterstock.

Parents Should Avoid Comments on Daughter’s Weight

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Parents Should Avoid Comments on Daughter’s Weight. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2016/06/08/parents-should-avoid-comments-on-daughters-weight/104461.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jun 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Jun 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.