We all know just how important it is to teach our children to maintain a good healthy weight, but according to the American Academy of Paediatrics, mentioning the word diet can actually give teens an eating disorder.
According to the report which warns how mentioning the word diet can actually backfire, “some adolescents may misinterpret what ‘healthy eating’ is and engage in unhealthy behaviours, such as skipping meals or using fad diets.”
“Parents should avoid comments about body weight and discourage dieting efforts that may inadvertently result in [eating disorders] and body dissatisfaction.”
Highlighting the fact that obesity and eating disorders (ED) are prevalent in adolescents, the reports suggests that “obesity prevention efforts may lead to the development of an eating disorder.”
“Most adolescents who develop an ED did not have obesity previously, but some teenagers, in an attempt to lose weight, may develop an ED. “
The Academy has also issued a number of guidelines aimed at teenagers trying to lose weight before they slip into eating disorders.
“Scientific evidence increasingly shows that, for teenagers, dieting is bad news,” Neville Golden, professor of pediatrics at Stanford University Medical School and lead author of the guidelines, said.
Instead, the study is calling on parents to focus on a healthy lifestyle, saying: “Evidence suggests that obesity prevention and treatment, if conducted correctly, do not predispose to EDs.”