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August 22, 2014

Modeling Positive Body Image for Back to School

With summer coming to an end and fall quickly approaching, many families have kids or loved ones headed back to school. In light of this transition, we want to share with you a few tips on creating a healthy body image environment for students.

5 Tips for Modeling Positive Body Image

  1. Think about the environment. Make your home or school environment one in which it is easy to make choices that are conducive to health.
  2. Model healthy physical activity. Advocate for physical activity because it feels good, provides energy, and helps relieve stress.
  3. Eat meals together. Sharing meals at home or with others can help support a healthy relationship with food. Encourage eating a variety of foods to get a variety of nutrients and don’t villainize “junk foods” as off-limits.
  4. Keep the focus on overall health, not weight. Encourage students to share the benefits of healthy behavior as opposed to weight loss. Give positive feedback for behavior changes and improvement in self-esteem, confidence, and self-image. Avoid giving feedback for changes in weight or appearance.
  5. Encourage language change. Commenting negatively or positively about weight can contribute to negative body image in the future by placing primary focus on physical appearance. Engage in conversations with students, ask about their thoughts, opinions, and what makes them feel good. Keep the focus on their personal qualities, rather than how they look.

Should you have any questions or concerns about body image and eating disorders, please contact us or call 888-365-5977.

Source: Neumark-Sztainer D, “I’m, Like, SO Fat!”: Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices about Eating and Exercise in a Weight Obsessed World. New York: The Guilford Press; 2

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