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Dads may influence eating disorders
[Posted: Sat 10/02/2007 www.irishhealth.com]
Fathers should avoid criticising their daughter's weight or shape, as they may unwittingly increase their risk of developing an eating disorder, the results of a new study indicate.
According to a team of US researchers, concerns about weight, together with an increasing social pressure to be thin, are strong risk factors for eating disorders during adolescence.
In an attempt to throw light on the factors that contribute during childhood to weight concerns, the team followed the progress of 134 children - 68 girls and 66 boys - from birth to the age of 11.
Every year, from when the children were aged two, their parents filled out questionnaires, which assessed their concerns about their children's weight and eating habits, as well as their own weight.
The study found that fathers have an important influence on their daughter's perceptions of their weight and shape during childhood. In fact, they appeared to have a particular influence when it came to the eating disorder, bulimia.
According to the researchers, a father's influence could be direct - in which he criticised his daughters-' weight and shape - or indirect, in which he criticised his own weight and shape.
In fact, fathers who were overly concerned with their own weight and shape appeared to be particularly influential when it came to their daughters' perceptions of weight.
The study also found that parents who were too controlling of what their children ate, along with parent and peer pressure to be thin, also raised the risk of eating disorders.
The researchers noted that all of these influences occurred before adolescence. They suggested that programmes aimed at preventing eating disorders should begin in early childhood 'and perhaps should include education for the parents'.
Details of these findings are published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
|Anonymous Posted: 12/02/2007 21:40|
|i would strongly agree with this. Even though my dad is overweight himself he would often pass sly remarks if i gained weight and it has often had me thinking i was overweight and made me not eat for days. however being a size 10-12 im reassured by friends ive nothing to worry about but i do fear that if i didn't have support my situation could have been a lot different.|
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