Teasing a child about their weight may risk them of having a binge eating disorder
“Do you really need to be eating that?” “Slow down, I’m worried about your health.” These are just a few of the many weight- and eating-related comments a HuffPost reader named Haleigh heard from her parents. They may seem innocuous to someone who doesn’t struggle with weight or didn’t grow up being constantly criticised for their body. But these and other comments made Haleigh, who at 5’6 was a perfectly healthy 160 pounds in high school, invest in a personal trainer and the Weight Watchers diet programme. The weight-based criticism also made Haleigh feel terrible about how she looked, which in turn fed unhealthy behaviors including secret eating.
Jaclyn Saltzman, a doctoral researcher in human development and family studies at the University of Illinois, isn’t surprised that Haleigh struggled with secret eating, a characteristic of binge eating disorder. In a recent review of the studies on binge eating disorders in children, Saltzman found that weight teasing and parental emotional unresponsiveness are the two familial behaviors that are most consistently linked with childhood binge eating. Huffington Post