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“The first time it happens, you may be caught off-guard, but it’s a common situation for many parents: Your child expresses concern about their body size. If this has happened to you, you’re certainly not alone.”

Parents can encourage their children to develop healthy eating habits in a variety of ways. One way is to encourage intuitive eating, which means forgetting about some of the rules around food that you may have learned as a child. Another way is to make sure that fat-phobic language isn’t used in your household and to encourage your child to speak up if they hear someone else using it. It’s also important to make peace with your own body so that your children can learn to do the same. Additionally, you can help your child build media literacy by teaching them about the inaccuracies and distortions often present in social media. Finally, you can encourage movement for fun and focus on overall health rather than weight loss. By following these tips, you can help your child develop a healthy relationship with food and their own bodies.

“According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of becoming fat,” says Nicole Siegfried, a licensed clinical psychologist, certified eating disorder specialist, and chief clinical officer at Lightfully Behavioral Health based in Thousand Oaks, California.

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