The Quiet Diet

By Julia Barzik | June 1, 2007 | 0 comments

If parents of overweight teens want to boost their kids’ self esteem, here’s what they should say to them about dieting: nothing.

A new study, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, looked at how families affect the mental health of overweight adolescents, many of whom suffer from low self-esteem and show symptoms of depression. It found that parental encouragement to diet has a clearly negative impact on kids’ psychological well-being.

Even parents’ seemingly kind weight-related comments have the potential to lower children’s self-esteem and influence them to take unhealthy steps to control their weight, such as skipping meals or using diet pills.

On the contrary, scheduling a regular family mealtime and creating a pleasant mealtime atmosphere—while refraining from any discussion of diets or weight, not to mention teasing—may boost overweight teens’ self-esteem, lower their depressive symptoms, and lead to better family connectedness.

“Adolescents can be very sensitive about their bodies, particularly during periods of great bodily changes,” says Jayne Fulkerson, the lead researcher and a professor at the University of Minnesota. “Instead of commenting about an overweight adolescent’s weight, parents may be more effective focusing on the health of the entire family by providing healthful foods in the home and promoting physical activity for everyone.”

Tracker Pixel for Entry
 
 
 

Greater Good wants to know:
Do you think this article will influence your opinions or behavior?

  • Very Likely

  • Likely

  • Unlikely

  • Very Unlikely

  • Not sure

 
About The Author

Julia Barzik is a Greater Good editorial assistant.

  

Like this article?

Here's what you can do:

Donate
 
  
 
blog comments powered by Disqus
 

Most...

  
  

Greater Good Events

Mindful Self-Compassion: Core Skills Training
International House
December 9-10, 2016


Mindful Self-Compassion: Core Skills Training

This workshop is an introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), an empirically-supported training program based on the pioneering research of Kristin Neff and the clinical perspective of Chris Germer.


» ALL EVENTS
 
 

Take a Greater Good Quiz!

How compassionate are you? How generous, grateful, or forgiving? Find out!

» TAKE A QUIZ
 

Watch Greater Good Videos

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.

Watch
 

Greater Good Resources

 
 
» MORE STUDIES
 
 
» MORE ORGS
 

Book of the Week

How Pleasure Works By Paul Bloom Bloom explores a broad range of human pleasures from food to sex to religion to music. Bloom argues that human pleasure is not purely an instinctive, superficial, sensory reaction; it has a hidden depth and complexity.

» READ MORE
 
Is she flirting with you? Take the quiz and find out.
"It is a great good and a great gift, this Greater Good. I bow to you for your efforts to bring these uplifting and illuminating expressions of humanity, grounded in good science, to the attention of us all."  
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

thnx advertisement