Health Watch - A Matter of Mind: Parental Influence

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about how your attitudes and mindset can affect your health. Your mind influences the changes you’re able or willing to make. But it’s not just your own health that your attitudes affect.

If you’ve got children, your own health behaviors and attitudes may affect them. Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says a mother’s eating habits and body image may influence her daughter. A daughter who sees her mother eating nutritious foods is likely to do the same, while a daughter who hears her mother complain about her body and obsess about losing weight is more likely to develop a poor body image. To help daughters develop healthy attitudes, mothers can model positive behavior instead of telling girls what to do. They can keep negative attitudes about food, their bodies or weight to themselves. Parents shouldn’t use food as a reward or punishment. 


January 2011

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