A new study has revealed that girls with dieting mothers are more likely to suffer from eating disorders.
The survey involving 512 teenage girls with an average age of 14 said their mothers dramatically influence their self-image and they felt damaged by the effects of their mum's dieting and views on food. The findings revealed that 6 per cent had an eating disorder, rising to 10 per cent among those whose mothers diet.
The study conducted by Sugar magazine also showed that nine per cent of teenage girls admitted they are constantly on a diet. Among girls whose families comment on their weight, this rose to 24 per cent.
"It stands to reason that a girl's 'thinheritance' - the attitude to food and body-shape she is exposed to day-after-day in her home - is going to be more powerful than anything we can print in a magazine,” Sky News quoted editor, Annabel Brog, as saying. "And of course many girls feel their mums, who typically diet and worry about their own weight, are their greatest influence," she added.
Psychologist Amanda Hills said that children learn how to behave by watching their parents. "Food becomes an issue when mum isn't sitting down to dinner with everyone else or is off preparing a separate meal for herself,” she said.
"And a dieting parent will label certain foods as 'bad' or 'wrong', which can lead to an unhealthy approach to food.
"The 'drip-drip' effect of constant self-criticism in front of easily-influenced teens teaches them to do likewise," she added.