Parents should approach conversations about weight with teenagers carefully, a new study suggests.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School looked at survey data on nearly 6,000 teens and parents. They found that when discussions between parents and children focused on their weight and size, teens were more likely to resort to unhealthy dieting and other weight-control measures, such as laxative use and skipping meals.
This effect was particularly apparent in cases when fathers commented on teens' weight.
Experts suggest focusing conversations on healthy eating. The study also found that when parents engaged in healthful eating conversations, overweight or obese adolescents were less likely to use unhealthy weight-control behaviors.