What can I do to prevent eating behavior disorders?

The family

  • Encourage a healthy, balanced and varied diet, including all the necessary foods, with limited sweets, industrial pastries and fast food.
  • Design different menus that include all food groups: vegetables and fruits, cereals and tubers, and legumes and foods of animal origin.
  • Do not define food as good or bad: all can be nutritious depending on quality, quantity and appropriate combinations.
  • Promote eating patterns and regular and various habits in family meals.
  • Adopt and maintain healthy habits with the practice of physical activity.
  • Adopt and maintain healthy habits regarding the number of hours of sleep recommended.
  • Encourage communication among all members of the family, invite children to listen and express themselves so that they feel safe and able to seek opinion and help from their family when they face difficult or stressful situations.
  • Foster the self-esteem of children so that they discover and accept their abilities and limitations, and learn to feel good about themselves.
  • Help children and teenagers not to reduce the body to a question of appearance, to face the messages about aesthetics, canons of beauty and food (such as miracle diets and dietetic products) that bombard advertising and some media. The exaltation of the lean body and restrictive diets can have negative effects on health.
  • Do not support the idea that a particular diet, weight or size will automatically lead the teenager to happiness and success. It must be borne in mind that, on many occasions, attitudes about weight and figure are learned from parents and siblings. Prevention should start with the family example.

The school

  • Incorporate a nutrition and dietetics service to ensure that different menus are prepared that include all food groups: vegetables and fruits, cereals and tubers and pulses and foods of animal origin, and inform families periodically.
  • Carry out preventive activities aimed at children and teenagers, since they are the population most at risk of suffering from these diseases, but also work prevention strategies with families and the academic team.
  • Promote cultural and recreational hobbies that allow the learning of social skills in order to ensure that children and teenagers consider different aspects of the image or beauty as a sign of prestige or social recognition. To promote that the emotional and personal aspects are valued as a priority among the students, instead of overestimating the physical and aesthetic aspects in general.
  • Avoid devaluing, criticizing the feelings, ideas, attitudes or concerns of students, favoring respect and mutual communication.
  • Likewise, it is important to work on values, trying to modify those attitudes that may be negative in relation to body image, such as prejudices towards overweight people.

More information: “Clinical Area”, “Disorders related to nutrition and eating behaviors”.

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