EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- With many committing to New Year’s resolutions such as adopting a new diet or fitness plan, experts say parents should think twice before discussing weight loss in front of their children.
Research shows kids whose parents talk about weight are more likely to have negative feelings about their bodies and experiment with unhealthy dieting behaviors.
One local health expert is suggesting a different approach.
"It's amazing to me how we have this image that women should look like a Barbie doll and men should look like Ken…when you walk around Wisconsin…very few people do," said Susan Kasik-Miller, Registered Dietitian at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire.
Year after year, weight loss is the focus for many heading into the new year but for parents, health experts say you might want to be careful how you talk about health and fitness around your kids.
"If you think about where you're at in life and you think about where your parents were at…how close to what your parents did are you and it’s probably fairly close," said Kasik-Miller.
She says kids pick up on everything so when parent are over-focused on dieting, body image, and numbers on a scale, it can negatively impact a child.
"Parents shouldn't be focused on a number because that is going to get picked up on by kids very quickly…what we do our kids are going to emulate so we really need to be aware of the fact that we have to have good habits," she said.
The solution? Less talk, more action. "As our children grow up, they see what we're doing," said Kasik-Miller. She says it’s not enough to just tell them but to show them and shift the focus to overall health. "It’s better for families in general to think about what can we do as a family to build better habits that will make us healthier all the way around," said Kasik-Miller.
According to state health data, obesity rates in Wisconsin have increased in recent years...with more than 40 percent of adults living with obesity and 15 percent of children.