Friday, October 9, 2009

Time on Pre-Teen Obesity and the Perfect Body

Back in August, I came across an interesting article in Time magazine. I won't repeat the article, because it has been linked, but I do want to point out some alarming things that I underlined.

1. Preteens have the "notion about the ideal body". Good gracious. The culprit: media. Preteen girls already read Cosmo Girl, Seventeen, watch shows such as Melrose Place and ANTM. They think they aren't perfect unless they look like the girls in the magazine. I remember a few years ago a Steven Curtis Chapman song came out: (Fingerprints of God)
I can see the tears filling your eyes
And I know where theyre coming from
Theyre coming from a heart thats broken in two
By what you dont see the person in the mirror
Doesnt look like the magazine
2. With these distorted views, comes the "increased risk for eating disorders". Wow - at 10 and 11. Girls struggling with identity. Girls who destroy their bodies. Girls on a diet. Girls who think they are nothing if they aren't perfectly skinny. If you know of anyone like this, go through some ideas found in Love to Eat, Hate to Eat by Elyse Fitzpatrick with them.
3. "School-based intervention to teach children about healthy body weight and body image have actually achieved some success." I hope they continue! But, still, we can teach them this all day long - but if our hope and our identity is not based in Christ, nothing will fulfill. The image we see reflected in the mirror will never be good enough.
4. Image issues lead to "obesity, concurrent healthy problems such as diabetes to depression." Image is such a problem with teen girls. I did youth ministry for many years - and the girls I knew had such distorted thoughts. Hope for them! Hope is Christ. Share this with them.
How can we help:
1. Teach first that image and being is found in Christ.
2. Educate them on healthy eating - practice healthy eating at home.
3. Love all the girls - don't show preferrance to the "pretty, skinny ones"
4. Love your girls. But, if they are way too skinny and unhealthy, or way overweight, love them enough to not let them stay like that!

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