Talking to teens about anything is hard, let alone weight. But when it comes to having a conversation about shedding some pounds, a new study by the University of Minnesota might make things easier. Researchers discovered that many of us are broaching the subject of weight loss all wrong and are inadvertently driving our teens to develop very unhealthy eating habits, including eating disorders.
The scientists talked to 2,800 middle school and high school students and at least one of their parents. They found that those teens who had discussions with their parents that focused on weight and appearance were more likely to turn to crash diets, laxatives, and binge eating than those kids whose parents didn't focus on weight loss, and instead centered the conversation around healthy eating habits.
Experts suggest we talk to our teens about making smart choices when it comes to food and drinks, and the most important thing we can do is lead by example. If you're snacking on chips before and after dinner, maybe switch to the good old-fashioned baby carrot. Actions speak much louder than words.
Bottom line: the focus of any conversation with your teen should not be about the so-called importance of being thin. Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes, and by honing in on what builds a strong body and a strong mind, our kids will want to make better decisions by their own accord.
We should talk to our teens about health issues, but the approach shouldn't focus on getting skinnier.
How do you talk to your teens about health issues?
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