Tweens Esteem Appearance over Nutrition

Mar 11, 2002

Eleven- to 13-year-old kids consider outward appearances such as clothes (54%), hair (52%) and clear skin (48%), more important than eating nutritious foods (25%), according to the Impulse Research Corporation Body Image Survey conducted on behalf of the National Dairy Council. At the same time, one out of three tweens surveyed are trying to lose weight and nearly half are worried about being overweight. And this weight-conscious behavior may be learned at home from tweens’ top role models — their parents.

Nearly half of tweens consider a parent to be their biggest role model, over others including actors, athletes, teachers and friends. More than half also reported having at least one parent that worries about his or her weight. While parents might be surprised to realize the influence they have on their kids, some researchers are not surprised.

“Research shows that moms play a powerful role in shaping the eating habits of their children,” says Rachel Johnson, PhD, MPH, RD Professor of Nutrition and Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Vermont. “Role modeling healthy behaviors is particularly important during adolescence when some healthy eating habits, such as drinking milk, drop off dramatically, and are replaced with sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, which are devoid of critical nutrients teens need.”

Moderator Comment: Will these research findings and
others influence the behavior of adults and in turn to influence the dietary
habits of their kids?

Here is one very happy father after the research found
that mothers play a crucial role in the developing eating habits of their kids.
Anderson – Moderator

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