Mothers have been known to influence their children in shaping various aspects of their personality. It has now been found that their attitude towards eating habits and weight control programs would in turn reflect on their teenagers as well. Perception of the teenager's mother regarding the above concepts has been found crucial.
A number of genetic and other environmental factors are believed to play a significant role in determining the body weight of an individual. The relationship of perceptions regarding weight and its influence on children is a topic that has been neglected for a long time.
Surprisingly, girls born to mothers who are less concerned about their eating habits, weight and body shape are more likely to indulge in unhealthy eating practices leading to a poor weight control.
A critical analysis done on more than 8000 adolescents and their mothers revealed that young girls were more bothered about their weight (33%) rather than their counterparts (8%). More than half of the mothers questioned admitted about their desire for losing weight. Out of this, only less than 25% were found to indulge in weight reduction activities.
A very small fraction of the respondents actually perceived the importance of their weight to maternal attitude. These individuals were more likely to give importance to physical appearance and indulge in dieting more often than others.
In addition to help build up cultural, religious and moral values, parents should also focus on the maintenance of an ideal body weight and shape. Prevention of obesity can have innumerable health benefits to both parents and children. At the least, it can prevent the risk of cardiovascular disease and other diseases associated with obesity.
It would be sensible to promote physical activity and practice a healthy lifestyle rather than advocating for weight reduction strategies. If weight control strategies were directed towards the development of self-esteem and mental health, it would perhaps be more successful.