Teenage girls are twice as likely to diet if their mother is constantly watching her weight. Comments from parents, attitudes of friends, and pictures of size zero models are said to influence 15% of teenage girls to diet regularly.
Mothers who comment on slim celebrity shapes definitely influence their daughters. And for those teenage girls with mothers constantly on diets 35% begin to see calorie counting as a way of life.
93% of the 2,500 girls surveyed said they worried about their weight and 3 out of 4 said their friends go on diets. Half said their family comment on what they eat and a quarter said they had a friend with an eating disorder.
Children develop their values and attitudes to life from those closest to them and parents are the obvious role models in the early stages of development (unless you have a nanny like certain members of the Royal family who then grow up and marry a nanny look-alike – but that’s a different post!)
A spokesman for the Child Growth Foundation said it was inappropriate for children to be put on diets as long as they eat healthily. Girls put on weight because of puberty but 99% lose it eventually.
The editor of the magazine which commissioned the survey said that mums want the best for their daughters who pick up on and assimilate their mum’s anxieties.
Some mums, perhaps hoping to stay yummy as long as possible, probably pay too much attention to popular diets and food fads.
PS If you think you know about fad diets try this quiz on the BBC web-site