"Mommy, am I fat?"
Your child's body image starts with what you see in the mirror.
Do you obsess about your weight? Well, it's time to stop, if not for your sake, then for that of your kids.

When parents worry excessively about weight, their children can too, to the point where it can be unhealthy for some kids. Children who worry about their weight can fall prey to chronic dieting, bad eating habits and other problems that can plague them for a lifetime.

Children who aspire to look like movie stars are also susceptible to developing unhealthy eating patterns. Sometimes, children as young as 5 years old can be negatively influenced by what they see on television and hear around the house when it comes to dieting.

Ironically, all this obsessing about weight isn't making anyone skinnier. Like adults, children are increasingly overweight. Some experts say that almost one-quarter of children in the United States are overweight. At the same time, anorexia is a growing problem among both boys and girls.

Because television and movie stars tend to be extremely thin, children who watch television pick up unrealistic images about what they should look like.

Early dieting can not only lead to unhealthy eating patterns over a lifetime, it also can impede a child's growth, the article says. If a child has a weight problem, it shouldn't be ignored, but constructive solutions should be developed.

One solution is to turn off the television, experts say, particularly during meal time.

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