Food for Thought
Think your kindergartner is too young to worry about dieting? You might be surprised to learn that girls as young as 5 years old who dabble in dieting are at higher risk for future weight gain, negative body image and disordered eating than girls who have no dietary restraints during childhood.
That’s what a new study in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association discovered by studying 153 girls between 5 and 9 years of age. In fact, the study authors concluded that attempts by young girls to control their weight actually led instead to weight gain!
“Positive alternatives to . . . dietary restriction are essential to promoting healthful weight status among children,” advised the study authors. In other words, parents and health educators should encourage girls to make healthier food choices, exercise every day—and avoid restrictive diets.