As progressive as our culture sometimes feels — with our body positivity gurus and plus-size clothing campaigns — we still live in a society that is highly disapproving of excess weight.
According to a study by Common Sense Media, kids as young as 5 are already worrying about their current or future weight. Half of girls and a third of boys as young as 6-8 reported seeing themselves as overweight. Seven-year-olds said they were dieting.
Whether or not your child is overweight, you may have concerns about his or her health or about how they may be treated because of current or future weight issues.
However, the most important thing for you to realize is that criticism, teasing or even a focus on weight or their waistline will not help them lose weight or become healthier. In fact, experts say weight stigma is associated with binge eating, poor body image and long-term obesity.
Essentially, negativity doesn’t create positive change.
Tips From the Y
- See your child as a little human being, not a number on the scale or a size on their clothing. Be positive, and don’t linger on their imperfections.
- Instead of focusing on being skinny or looking attractive, focus your conversations on health and healthy behavior. No matter your child’s weight, junk food and hours spent in front of the TV are unhealthy, and you should have those conversations.
- Experts suggest making healthy improvements for the entire family. Try Meatless Mondays, limit sweets in the house and make healthy snacks.
- Encourage increased physical activity. The YMCA of Boulder Valley is registering for after-school programs, sports, ice and aquatics programs. Sign up at ymcabv.org.
Andra Coberly Webster is the communications director for the YMCA of Boulder Valley. The Y strengthens community through programs that focus on healthy living, youth development and social responsibility. Financial assistance is available.