Looking for body image info, please

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tiredmommy, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Duckie has grown quite a bit in the last few months. She's shot up to 49", 54lbs, and has a BMI of 15.8 at 7.5 years old. While she's no longer frighteningly skinny, she is still very slender and one of the skinnier kids at school.

    We went through her dresser and closet to get an idea of what I would need to update for school and all but two of her pants need replacing now. Not a big deal, right? Duckie immediately jumped to the conclusion that she was fat (I can't stress enough that this isn't the case). She's mentioned her size a few more times since then.

    Can anyone point me in the direction of any books or online resources that I could use to help Duckie develop a more realistic view of her body? She isn't to the point where she's restricting calorie intake, but I'd like to stop this before it gets too bad.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What about those charts the doctors use for percentiles. Not sure they go up to Duckie's age though.

    I wish my difficult child would be a bit more aware of her body type - sigh...we can never win!!
  3. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Wow do I have a great site all about kids. They have sections for parents, kids and teens that discuss all different types of things. Here's the link:


    Check around on it and see if it has any of info. that you're looking for.

    Dove soap has started a new self-esteem campaign to stop young girls from being pressured by the media and society in general to maintain a certain image.

    If I can think of any others, I'll let you know. These are the two that popped into my head right away!

  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Oh, by the way, on the Kidshealth link if you click on Being Healthy or Staying Healthy (I just looked at it and can't remember - ugh!) there's a heading called "BMI". Looked like it was right where ducky should go!

    Good luck! Positive self-esteem really makes life run smoothly!

  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Great ideas.
    I am so sorry she feels like that. My daughter was into any excuse to go shopping at any age, even the few times she did feel she looked fat.
    I would suggest talking to her about muscle tone, and exercise too, so that it's not all about eating and not eating.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have no idea if you have satellite or cable or if this show would even be appropriate for her age...but there is a show on Lifetime I think called How to Look Good Naked. At least I think that is the name of it. It is hosted by one of the guys who was one of those guys on that show where the gay guys came in and did the makeovers. It looks like they aim this show more towards appreciating your body as it is rather than some hollywood ideal. Maybe you could watch the show and see if it would be ok for her to watch.
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT still does this...she's 5'8", weighs 145, and is solid muscle. Maybe enrolling Duckie in some kind of exercise class or sport (Miss KT earned her black belt in karate) will enforce an image of strong and healthy as opposed to fat. Does her ballet teacher enforce a healthy attitude?

    Reminding her that she's growing, and is supposed to be growing, might help. Miss KT is supposed to be 5'11", according to some strange mathematics based on her height at age 3, and I would keep telling her she was growing, she was in karate, she has muscles, and muscle weighs more than fat.
  8. navineja

    navineja New Member

    I appreciate the links too. J has spoken also of concerns over her body- 7 yrs old, 49" tall, 60 lbs. J is stocky, with a little "bodybuilder" frame. Her twin, N, (fraternal) as well as all 8 of her cousins that she is with regularly are quite thin. This summer, for the first time, N and J are unable to share shorts due to J being bigger. She is by no means heavy, she is just built differently than the rest. AND she is strong as an ox! We had a contest in Kidzfit (a youth fitness class that they attend) and she did 35 pushups without stopping! I try to emphasize to both the girls that being healthy is what is important, not how you look. But it is still so hard on a little one surrounded by all the emphasis on thinness. I will definitely be using these sites as well as the ideas to keep helping her. Thanks.
  9. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    K is just 7 and 51" and 56#'s. Her "extra" weight goes right to her tummy. She is solid though. She is fully aware of her body... she has made comments about being fat.
    This is one of the reasons I have never been a big fan of barbies, bratz etc... they give off such a bad self image for the young girls.
    We have talked to K about how everyone's bodies are different and we eat healthy, eating healthy, exercise.
    Some people are just bigger and it is not bad. We reassure her that she is not fat or too big.
    We also tell her that WE ALL can always work out more, eat healthier and that these things will help us feel better about ourselves.

    Thanks for the websites...
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I was thinking of BMI references too. Our Aussie diet book is a beauty, even though it's not specifically for children it is what I would recommend, if Duckie were thinking of going on a diet. Because THIS book would tell Duckie to first calculate her BMI and then probably tell her to NOT try to lose weight, if her BMI says she's underweight.

    The book also has really good information on how many calories we burn, just by breathing. It's calculated according to age, weight, gender, activity level etc. (If you're trying to lose weight, you use your personal calorie requirement as a guide to help you calculate how many calories a day you need, to lose weight. You could use it the other way, too, in trying to gain weight). And the best thing about this book - it promotes HEALTHY eating, not just weight reduction. And it's got recipes. Really yummy ones.

    It's called "The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet" and it comes with really good professional and scientific credentials. It's not just a couple of blokes who wrote a diet book to cash in - it's based on years of research by an independent government-based research group. It's like having CDC publishing a diet book under their label.

    Here is a link - http://www.csiro.au/science/Twd.html

    It's also got some good stuff on having a realistic body image.

    A book with no vested interest and no axe to grind. It's been helpful for me, and a lot of other people.

    Calculating BMI for Duckie might help her realise that she is not fat. But if she is worrying about her weight, maybe try and transfer that to concern for healthy eating. Eat more fibre, avoid empty calories, exercise, eat a balanced diet with plenty of variety. Try new foods and new recipes.

    I hope you find something to help her.

  11. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts



    The above link may not be age appropriate for Duckie yet but we've used it with kt a great deal. Lots of good information, well written with peer interaction.

    One of kt's favorite sites to visit.
  12. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I just did the BMI with K's age and height. It has her at 15.1 BMI and in the 41%. THe only thing I dislike about the BMI is it can not take into consideration body type. Height and weight are one thing, but if you look at one person who is 5'6" and weighs 138 or another... they can look totally different and have complete different muscle mass. Also a person who is 5'6" can weigh more and be complete muscle... or weigh more and be very flabby!!!
    I think BMI is a good indicator for some, especially if you are unaware of how healthy your child is or what they eat or how much exercise they get. But if you pay attention to these things, you know if your child is doing well.
    When K gains weight from her medications, it goes right to her tummy. We are still helping her be OK with that. It doesn't matter what her BMI is, she has a bit of a tummy and it bugs her.
    The swimming because she loves it has helped.
    I hate that we even have to worry about this stuff for our daughters and sons. I just wish we were all healthy and happy!!!
    Good luck with Ducky! I loved School Shopping... My little K-mart trip. I think we got 50$ for the year... I loved those clothes, I wore them until the buttons were popping off!!!
  13. navineja

    navineja New Member

    I did the BMI for J and it put her at the very top of the healthy weight, and 18.4 BMI. But again as Totoro said, it can't really evaluate body type or health. J is very active and very healthy.
    When I was a teen, I weighed more than others, but I was pure muscle from years of gymnastics. My best friend was about 17 before she hit 100 pounds. I always felt fat around others until I really learned about BMI. Funny thing was, my best friend had a higher body fat than I did, even though she was so thin!
    I try to instill in the twins the philosophy of health, not weight, but it is soooo hard when they are constantly bombarded with it everywhere you turn.
  14. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Maybe you can find some stats on olympic athletes and calculate some BMI's and find some in Duckie's range. Show them people she is built like. Just a thought - a lot of times you can find height and weight on those folks.
  15. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    TM, is there any chance that other girls are making comments? My daughter started taking hits from a classmate already in 2nd grade. She had a classmate who started doing things like informing my daughter that her skin was too white and that she needed to get a tan. My daughter has lovely delicate looking light skin that's never going to get a tan. She's happy with it but it's taking me coaching her in how to respond to the comments because they are hurtful.
  16. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Thanks everyone! We've always had conversations about being active and eating healthfully. She's very good about making good choices, understands that junk and treats are okay if they're not all the time and that being active makes your body strong.

    We had a talk yesterday and I think this stems ***alot*** from her being the biggest of her same-aged friends. She easily could pass for a third or fourth grader. She seems to be self-conscious about looking older than the other girls nearest her age or in her grade level. Many of these kids still look like "little" girls, while Duckie looks more like a tween.

    We also compared her to her friends, most heavier and a few thinner. She didn't think her heavier friends were fat and acknowledged she was thinner than they are. So I explained that she wasn't seeing her body as it really is and she seems to feel a little better. For now...
  17. 4sumrzn

    4sumrzn New Member

    I'm glad she is feeling better & it sounds as if you are doing all of the right things to help her go in the right direction ;)

    It just breaks my heart when I hear anything about a child "feeling" fat. Having an eating disorder in the past & looking back on it....I was never over weight to begin with. So, it scared the living "you know what" out of me when easy child said he though he was fat as he was pinching his sides. Reminded me of the commercial "can you pinch more than an inch"? (Weight Watchers maybe?) Only because the boy could pinch 1/4 inch! Anyway, scares me when children even feel that way even though I know it's part of growing up. But, like I said before.....sounds like you are on top of the situation & are doing the right things. That's wonderful!!!!! I wasn't so lucky years ago to have someone do that for me.
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Totoro, you said, "THe only thing I dislike about the BMI is it can not take into consideration body type."

    I agree with you. According to BMI, I have been classified as overweight in the past when in fact I was not. With all the weight I have now lost, I JUST fall into the "overweight" range and no longer the "obese" range. I now weigh about 80 Kg (170 pounds) and people say I don't look that heavy. I see other women who weigh a lot less than me, who are clearly carrying more fat.

    I'm short in the legs and long in the body. Seated, husband & I are the same height. Standing, he is 6" taller. It means that the only difference in our heights is that 6" of leg, which weighs a lot less than 6" of torso. Yet he is classified as either normal weight, or just into the overweight range, while I'm right out the other side of overweight.

    And doctors react accordingly, without actually LOOKING at me.

    A TV program we had screening here on Wednesday night was Jamie Oliver's one on "Eat to Save Your Life". They made an interesting point - there were people on that show with a healthy BMI, but who on further examination turned out to have 50% of their body volume made up of fat. These people were slim, you wouldn't have known. They MRI'd them all and found that a couple of the "obese" people had less fat (in one case, a lot less) than these "normal" people. One large bloke had almost all muscle (hence heavier weight, higher BMI) and very little fat. Despite having a BMI in the obese range he turned out to have one of the best health results of all the subjects - blood tests, stress test, MRI, the lot.

    So BMI can be misleading. I don't like it. But since doctors use it, I need to stay in touch with it and any other parameters of good health.