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Help Your Kids Build a Better Body Image


By Susie Michelle Cortright

Forty percent of 9-and 10-year-old females are trying to lose weight. That's according to a national health study of nearly 2,400 girls.

Experts say it's no coincidence that a girl's academic performance sometimes begins to slide about the time she becomes more aware of her body.

Amoreena Brewton, a mother with a background in sociology and counseling, says the effect on children is one of the most significant dangers of a mother's poor body image. "If you hate your body, your child may learn to hate hers, as well," she says.

Studies reinforce the notion that parental and peer messages influence a young girl's body image. Make sure your kids create and maintain a positive body image:

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  • Help your kids develop a healthy relationship with food. If you count calories, your child might too. Make sure your children understand the importance of a healthy diet. Then follow through by creating healthy family meals and snacks.
  • Demonstrate the benefits of exercise. Help your kids develop an interest in healthy recreational activities. Encourage them to develop an interest in outdoor games and sports.
  • Focus on your children's inner qualities. Let them know when they look nice, but make a point to praise their emotional, intellectual, and spiritual prowess, as well.

How do you help your children create and maintain a positive body image?

© Susie Michelle Cortright, 2001-present

Susie Cortright is the founder of momscape.com and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground -
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