(HealthDay News) -- Teens who develop a negative body image and act on those feelings may wind up stunting their social, physical and mental growth, the U.S. Office on Women's Health says.
Parents can promote a positive body image among their teens, foremost, by being positive role models, the agency says. That means eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
The agency suggests parents take these additional steps:
Help your child understand that weight gain is a normal part of development, especially during puberty.
Avoid negative statements about food, weight, and body size and shape.
Allow your child to make decisions about food. Parents should make available healthy options.
Compliment your child on her or his efforts, talents, accomplishments and personal values.
Restrict television viewing to limit its effects on your child. When the child does watch TV, watch along with the child, and discuss any body-image issues.
Encourage the child's school to enact policies against size and sexual discrimination, harassment, teasing and name-calling.
Keep open lines of communication with your child.
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