Parents of toddlers may be serving up stereotypes about body image that could contribute to eating disorders or behavioral problems later in life, according to a pair of new Florida State University studies.
Researchers found that parents of 3-year-olds worried that their sons but not their daughters were underweight - even though the weights and body mass index of the boys and girls in the study were nearly identical. They also said that their daughters ate enough food, but their sons did not.
The findings suggest that parents may be buying into gender stereotypes about appetite and body size even with children as young as 36 months old. The studies, co-authored by FSUs Bright-Burton Professor of Psychology Thomas Joiner, graduate student Jill Holm-Denoma and post-doctoral student Ainhoa Otamendi, as well as colleagues from the Oregon Research Institute and Wesleyan University, were published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
Dr. Thomas Joiner | EurekAlert!
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