A new study has demonstrated positive results in reducing potential vulnerabilities for disordered eating and promoting body satisfaction, healthy eating and weight management among young children through a novel intervention for parents.
Confident Body, Confident Child (CBCC) is a program for parents of children aged 2-6 years. Study results indicated that parents who participated in CBCC increased their awareness of factors that can have a negative impact on body image or encourage disordered eating patterns. Participation in CBCC also positively influenced parental behaviors that are associated with decreased risk for development of body dissatisfaction and unhealthy eating or weight.
Body dissatisfaction has been considered a public health issue because it has been linked to many negative physical and emotional consequences (higher BMI, depressive symptoms, disordered eating, and more). Distorted body image can develop in early childhood, impacting some children as young as 5-6 years old. At this age, parents play an important role in a child's development and can assist in creating a family environment that fosters positive attitudes and behaviors surrounding eating patterns and weight management. CBCC is designed to empower parents during this period by providing research-based education and resources (booklets, poster, website, children's book, and workshop).
This research suggests that parenting practices included in CBCC can help to promote family environments that offer the potential to protect their child from future body dissatisfaction and unhealthy eating practices. "We are excited about this program because parents tell us it's exactly what they need in the current time of obesity fear and increasing disordered eating behaviours," acknowledged Dr. Hart, primary investigator of the study.
The findings will be published the May/June 2016 issue of the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
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