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Detecting Body Issues in Teens

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How many of us are unhappy with our bodies?

Unfortunately, a lot of us will answer this question with a yes. It’s no secret that many of us have agonized in front of a mirror or complained about our muffin tops, stretch marks, bat wings, and more. We often lament to our friends, family, and significant others about our disappointments when we look in the mirror or have to try on clothes. And they all know better than to mention swimsuit season is around the corner.

In fact, researchers estimate that 91 percent of women admit to having negative feelings about our bodies. We all have certain areas that we would love to see tightened or toned which often finds us boarding an unending merry-go-round of dieting and exercising. This unhappiness with our bodies doesn’t only affect us, it can filter down to our children.

As mothers, we lead by example and in our own frustrations we might be inadvertently setting up our children for a lifelong struggle with unhealthy body image issues. Our daughters, and even our sons, are witnessing our attitudes and behaviors when it comes dealing with body image issues. As we avoid mirrors or begin a pity party when it comes to eating a second helping at dinner, our kids are picking up on our cues.

This can develop extreme attitudes and behaviors towards food and weight. If we are aware of this problem, we can take measures to keep our menacing thoughts and comments to ourselves. However, far too often our children are being exposed to negative and unhealthy body ideals online. Their love of social media only adds fuel to the fire when they rely on feedback from peers or others when it comes to deciding how they feel about themselves. This can lead to kids suffering from poor body images and low self esteem.

These problems are widespread in the U.S. and are on the upswing, affecting more and more of our children. Thankfully, with a little awareness we can help detect body image issues before they spiral into dangerous territory and threaten our child’s well being. For more information on detecting body image issues in our teens, please read the following infographic: 

 

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