Children and Dietiting

While it may be tempting, don't put your children on diets. I cannot emphasize enough how counterproductive dieting is at ANY age. Instead, model healthy physical and emotional behaviors. The risk of physical and emotional ramifications of dieting largely outweighs any benefit. In fact, I have never seen any benefit from dieting. 

A new study has found negative associations between childhood dieting and health in later years.  An excerpt from the article linked below:

"Keel and team found that for each year younger at first diet, a woman's risk of these associations became stronger. For example, a woman who first dieted at age 11 would be 14 percent more likely to have an eating disorder, 79 percent more likely to abuse alcohol and 67 percent more likely to be overweight or obese by her thirties than someone who first dieted at 12 years.

Why this association exists remains an open question. Keel, a psychology professor at Florida State University, theorized that food restriction could actually affect neural pathways. "One possibility is that restricting food intake earlier in life may influence brain development in ways that alter sensitivity to rewards, like food and alcohol, that could increase risk for overconsumption and related problems in life," she said.

So what's a parent to do? Skip fad diets and don't emphasize restriction, Balantekin recommended. More than anything else, parents should model healthy behaviors, like increased exercise, more fruit and vegetable consumption, and less sugar intake."

From: Putting Your Child on a Diet Could Have Unintended Consequences

I would agree!

Your turn!  Please share YOUR thoughts and experiences on this subject.  I would love to hear them!

Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD