Body image and health
Adults can help youth develop healthy habits and a positive body image:
- Teach children that their self-worth is not related to how they look. Emphasize their talents and qualities. Don't focus on their physical appearance.
- Give children healthy choices, and teach them to make informed decisions about what they eat. Involve them in planning meals, shopping and cooking.
- Emphasize the positive aspects of healthy eating, rather than focusing on the effects of unhealthy eating.
- Do not use food as a reward or punishment. If you use food as a reward or comfort, or if you restrict food as a punishment, you are sending the message that food leads to love and acceptance. This may encourage children to seek out food for comfort or self-punishment.
- Remind them to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. The amounts they eat will vary as they grow. Respect their choices.
- Make your family meals a peaceful time for enjoying food and talking with each other.
- Live with a positive attitude to body image, not with a focus on food and weight. Show how you can be happy, healthy and active at any body size. Avoid complaining about your body, particularly in front of children.
- Encourage self-awareness and critical thinking skills.
- Be aware of advertising and toys aimed at children.
(Source: NEDIC - Health Promotion & Prevention (extenral link))