Positive Body Image and Eating Disorders

Body image refers to the way individuals feel about their physiques. Children can develop a negative or positive view of their physical appearance regardless of their size or weight. An acceptance, appreciation, and respect of one’s body are associated with such healthy lifestyle behaviors as a balanced approach to physical activity and food and better self-esteem. Therefore, parents and other family members need to adopt appropriate strategies necessary in promoting positive body image for their youngsters.

Parents and other family members should be good body image role models for their kids. These individuals are among the most influential exemplar in children’s life. They can encourage the latter to feel good about themselves if they lead by example. For instance, they can focus on nourishment provided by foods rather than labeling them as good or bad and encourage flexible eating patterns. Additionally, they should not diet or inspire their children to do so regardless of their body weight or shape (Maor & Cwikel, 2016). The behavior can be detrimental and a risk factor for developing eating disorders. Also, parents not complaining about the body parts they are unhappy with, engaging in regular physical activities, and accepting that bodies come in different sizes and shapes promote positive body image for their youngsters (Better Health, 2020). Instilling the habit of being physically active in children can help them appreciate what their bodies can do instead of focusing on appearance. Further, parents and family members should help children feel confident about themselves to enhance their self-esteem.

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Values, attitudes, and behaviors taught in childhood have a significant role in developing eating disorders as a teen or adult. Ideal physical appearances portrayed in magazines, televisions, and commercials create dissatisfaction with the body, leading to low self-esteem among the youths. However, teaching values such as unconditional self-love can improve their self-worth and confidence regardless of their body shapes and size. Equally, instilling a positive attitude towards food and one’s body and healthy behaviors such as sensible eating and engaging in regular physical exercise can help prevent eating disorders during teenage or adulthood.

References

Better Health. (2020). Body image – tips for parents | betterhealth.vic.gov.au. Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. Web.

Maor, M., & Cwikel, J. (2016). Mothers’ strategies to strengthen their daughters’ body image. Feminism & Psychology, 26(1), 11-29. Web.

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