People who were pressured by their parents to diet and lose weight will go on to nag their kids about it too, a new study finds

By Julie Mazziotta
March 06, 2018 01:10 PM

One more reason why we need the body positivity movement: people who are pressured by their parents to lose weight will do the same to their own kids — and the shaming means they’re more likely to be overweight.

These findings, part of a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, confirmed that encouragement from parents to diet has harmful effects.

“Experiencing parent encouragement to diet as an adolescent was significantly associated with a higher risk of overweight or obesity, dieting, binge eating, engaging in unhealthy weight control behaviors, and lower body satisfaction 15 years later as a parent,” the study authors, from the University of Minnesota, wrote.

Led by Dr. Jerica M. Berge, the wide-ranging study started with surveys of socioeconomically and racially diverse women and men in 1998-1999, as adolecents. They were surveyed again in 2015-2016, as young adult parents.

The researchers say that “parent encouragement to diet as an adolescent had long-term harmful associations with weight-related and emotional health.” They suggest that doctors start talking to parents about limiting mentions of dieting in the home.

“It may be important for health care providers to educate parents about the potential harmful and long-lasting consequences of engaging in encouragement to diet with their children,” they wrote.