If you want your daughter to shed a few pounds, better abstain from saying it in so many words and if you have to, do bring in your own weight concerns to the discussion, suggests new research.
While discussing issues of diet and weight with their daughters, mothers would do better to raise their own weight-related problems, the study said.
Aiming to figure out how mothers should discuss weight issue with their daughters, the study focused on a representative group of sixth- to eighth-grade girls and their mothers.
“Generally, we found that for the daughters who were being encouraged to lose weight by their mothers, outcomes were worse if their mothers were not also discussing their own weight concerns,” said one of the researchers Erin Hillard from University of Notre Dame in Indiana, US.
“The daughters who were being encouraged to lose weight but whose moms were not also discussing their own weight concerns were more at risk for development of disordered eating, based on the higher scores on measures of dieting behaviour and drive for thinness they reported in eighth grade,” Hillard noted.
Hillard acknowledged that the study findings as a whole suggested more about what mothers should not be talking about than what they should.
“After all,” she said, “the best outcomes were found for daughters whose mothers were not engaging in either type of conversation.”
“They do shed light on the complexity of the issue of talking to children about their weight in ways that don’t lead to poor health outcomes in the long run,” Hillard noted.
The study was published in the journal Body Image.