New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders

29 Jan

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is reporting in the study, School Obesity Programs May Promote Worrisome Eating Behaviors and Physical Activity in Children:

Report Highlights

82% of parents report at least one school-based intervention aimed at preventing childhood obesity within their children’s schools.

30% of parents of children age 6-14 report worrisome eating behaviors and physical activity in their children.

7% of parents say that their children have been made to feel bad at school about what or how much they were eating.

B.A. Birch reports about the Mott study in the Education News article, Report: School Food Programs Could Trigger Eating Disorders:

David Rosen, a professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, said:

“We have to be really careful that we’re not putting things out there, particularly to younger kids, that might be misinterpreted, not be given appropriate supervision, and being done in ways that kids can, or some kids, can go off in dangerous directions and have bad outcomes.”

Rosen believes it is important that parents talk to their children about what they’re being told at the schools and to keep an eye out for worrying behavior.

“Parents need to know what’s going on in school. They need to be able to talk with their kids about the information they’re getting in schools, be attentive to any changes they’re seeing in their kids, particularly if those behaviors seem to persist or seem to be getting worse.

“We think the parents ought to be talking to schools about this kind of education.”

The schools must also take responsibility, says Rosen. Officials should pay attention to the outcomes of their programs.

The key is moderation in both eating habits and exercise.

The media presents an unrealistic image of perfection for women and girls. What they don’t disclose is for many of the “super” models their only job and requirement is the maintenance of their appearance. Their income depends on looks and what they are not able to enhance with plastic surgery and personal trainers, then that cellulite can be photoshopped or airbrushed away. That is the reality. Kids Health has some good information about Body Image  Michael Levine, PhD of the National Eating Disorders Association has written, 10 Things Parents Can Do to Help Prevent Eating Disorders:

1. Consider your thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors toward your own body and the way that these beliefs have been shaped by the forces of weightism and sexism. Then educate your children about (a) the genetic basis for the natural diversity of human body shapes and sizes and (b) the nature and ugliness of prejudice.

􀁹 Make an effort to maintain positive attitudes and healthy behaviors. Children learn from the things you say and do!

2. Examine closely your dreams and goals for your children and other loved ones. Are you overemphasizing beauty and body shape, particularly for girls?

􀁹 Avoid conveying an attitude which says in effect, “I will like you more if you lose weight, don’t eat so much, look more like the slender models in ads, fit into smaller clothes, etc.”

􀁹 Decide what you can do and what you can stop doing to reduce the teasing, criticism, blaming, staring, etc. that reinforce the idea that larger or fatter is “bad” and smaller or thinner is “good.”

3. Learn about and discuss with your sons and daughters (a) the dangers of trying to alter one’s body shape through dieting, (b) the value of moderate exercise for health, and (c) the importance of eating a variety of foods in well-balanced meals consumed at least three times a day.

􀁹 Avoid categorizing and labeling foods (e.g. good/bad or safe/dangerous). All foods can be eaten in moderation.

􀁹 Be a good role model in regard to sensible eating, exercise, and self-acceptance.

4. Make a commitment not to avoid activities (such as swimming, sunbathing, dancing, etc.) simply because they call attention to your weight and shape. Refuse to wear clothes that are uncomfortable or that you don’t like but wear simply because they divert attention from your weight or shape.

5. Make a commitment to exercise for the joy of feeling your body move and grow stronger, not to purge fat from your body or to compensate for calories, power, excitement, popularity, or perfection.

6. Practice taking people seriously for what they say, feel, and do, not for how slender or “well put together” they appear.

7. Help children appreciate and resist the ways in which television, magazines, and other media distort the true diversity of human body types and imply that a slender body means power, excitement, popularity, or perfection.

8. Educate boys and girls about various forms of prejudice, including weightism, and help them understand their responsibilities for preventing them.

9. Encourage your children to be active and to enjoy what their bodies can do and feel like. Do not limit their caloric intake unless a physician requests that you do this because of a medical problem.

10. Do whatever you can to promote the self-esteem and self-respect of all of your children in intellectual, athletic, and social endeavors. Give boys and girls the same opportunities and encouragement. Be careful not to suggest that females are less important than males, e.g., by exempting males from housework or childcare. A well-rounded sense of self and solid self-esteem are perhaps the best antidotes to dieting and disordered eating.

Beautiful people come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. The key is to be healthy and to live a healthy lifestyle.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

3 Responses to “New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders”


  1. Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized tests « drwilda - May 8, 2012

    […] New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders… […]

  2. Social media spreads eating disorder ‘Thinspiration’ « drwilda - June 19, 2012

    […] New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders         … […]

  3. Study: Fitter kids get better grades « drwilda - August 4, 2012

    […] New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders                          … […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: