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Helping Girls With Body Image

The media bombard girls with images of super-thin models. Learn how parents can be the most powerful force to help foster a healthy self-image for their daughters.

Point Out Healthy Body Images

Given America's obsession with obesityobesity, coupled with the unattainable images of celebrities who are often seen as simultaneously ultra-thin and buxom, girls may have a tough time arriving at what it means to have a healthy body image. Some experts say it's better to show girls what a healthy body image means rather than to tell them.

"When you say healthy, it immediately implies something that's not enjoyable," says Adrienne Ressler, MA, LMSW, national training director for The Renfrew Center, a national eating disorder treatment facility.

Instead, she attempts to deflate the image of the super-thin model in the mind of the adoring adolescent girl. "I ask a girl things like: 'I wonder if she can still get her period if she's that thin?' or 'I wonder how much of her day is taken up thinking about how she'll maintain that weight?'" Ressler tells WebMD.

She also urges adolescent girls to momentarily leave the malls and the fashion magazines behind and head to a park. "I ask them to look at the young children there, and to realize the joy of little kids of all shapes and sizes moving their bodies. They all look so alive," Ressler tells WebMD. "We need to return to more of that."

Brush Up on Beauty

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