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A Healthy Body Image is a Super Family Value

Kids, try these strategies:

  1. Wear clothes that feel comfortable and that make you feel good.
  2. Move your body! Put on music and dance or go for a walk.
  3. Appreciate all that your body has to do to carry you closer to your dreams.
  4. Save and display photos that show your best self.
  5. Look at your smile – often.
  6. Make a top ten list of things you like about yourself. Read it every day!
  7. Talk back to advertising that says you have to look a certain way.
  8. Do a friendship checkup. Ask questions like, Do the people around me make me feel healthy and happy?
  9. Remember old-fashioned sayings like “Pretty is as pretty does!” and newer mantras like “Kindness counts.”
  10. Do something kind to lift up someone else.

Parents, keep this in mind:

  1. Do you sigh when you look in the mirror? Practice a reassuring smile instead.
  2. Do you routinely say, We shouldn’t be eating this? Or label foods as “bad”?
  3. Still talking about needing to start a diet? Stop.
  4. Remember your body has lived, worked, given birth, brought up a child, worked for decades, and run a household. Bodies change as we age, and it’s fiction that they could ever look like the perfected images in the media.(Thanks to the folks from Dove for their Toolkit of Ideas)

Did you know?

While 75 percent of 8- to 9-year-old girls say they like the way they look, by the age of twelve or thirteen, only 56 percent of girls like their appearance. (from Teens Before Their Time, 2000)

Nearly 72 percent of girls feel pressure to be beautiful. (The Real Truth About Beauty, Dove Global study 2010)

Over 50 percent of 11- to 15-year-old girls say that their mother helps them the most when they have a problem. (The Ten Emerging Truths: New Directions for Girls 11- 17, 2002)

Gayle Schrier Smith is a pediatrician-mother who works with children at Partners in Pediatrics, a concierge pediatric practice in Richmond. Learn about Dr. Smith’s practice at

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