Passing judgement on your daughter about her weight in youth is more likely to cause her a poor body image, finds a new study suggesting that it may also impact her negatively in her later life.
The findings show that commenting on a girl’s weight in her youth is more likely to make her feel dissatisfied with her weight as an adult.
Also, women who recall their parents commenting on their weight are more prone to being overweight and are less satisfied with their weight as adults.
“Commenting on a woman’s weight is never a good idea, even when they are young girls,” said lead author Brian Wansink, professor at Cornell University in the US.
Even slim women are more likely to have poor body image if their parents commented on their weight in youth.
This indicates that weight related comments are damaging to body image regardless of weight.
“If you’re worried about your child’s weight, avoid criticising them or restricting food. Instead, nudge healthy choices and behaviours by giving them freedom to choose for themselves and by making the healthier choices more appealing and convenient,” Wansink suggested.
For the study, published in the journal Eating and Weight Disorders, 501 women aged between 20 and 35 years were surveyed about their body image and asked to recall how frequently their parent(s) commented about their weight.
Those with a healthy body mass index (BMI) were 27 per cent less likely to recall their parents commenting on their weight and 28 per cent less likely to recall parents commenting on eating too much compared to women whose BMI indicated they were overweight.
Importantly, both overweight and healthy weight women who did recall their parents commenting on their weight, as youths were less satisfied with their weight as adults.