Monday, September 29, 2008

Evaluation of an Eating Disorder Program

The masses have been clamoring for a program evaluation of an eating disorder prevention program targeted at junior high school students. A couple of different issues here . . . how do you think the program measures up and, ethically, what do you think about this type of program targeted at junior high school students. Should make for plenty of good discussion. Click the link to read the article.

Evaluation of an Eating Disorder Prevention Program

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really am not surprised about the findings that even younger children are being affected by eating disorders. Things have changed quite a bit since I was a child. There was one television in the home, no computer, and kids were encouraged to play outside. Kids live a more sedentary lifestyle with computers, video games, television, and magazines that inundate them with models that suggest that there is no such thing as being too thin. It starts young with pressure from their peers and parents as well and I believe that education is key in teaching appropriate diet, promoting and teaching what it is to have a healthy body image, and to model the behavior taught in the programs in the home as well. Starting out when children are very young can be most helpful in this area. I know a woman in my church who was morbidly obese with other health problems. She underwent gastric bypass surgery early on when the procedure was new to the medical field and as a result suffered some severe complications and has since developed Anorexia.
C.Paulk

Gina Smith said...

Gina Smith/Gadsden/Original Posting

I do not find it hard to believe that children today, even preschoolers, are obsessed with their weight and appearance. TV shows, commercials, movies, video games, and even children's shows portray people that are overweight as unattractive, slobbish, rude, etc. Very rarely do you see an actress or actor, whether child or adult, who is overweight portrayed in a serious or attractive light. I will admit that there are more now than when I was a child, but they are still a minority. This study could have been extended over all the 3 grades within the school instead of being restricted to the 6th grade. It would have been interesting to know the differences that the 1 year or 2years made on the pre-tests and the effects of the prevention on post-tests. I agreed with the statement that further testing should be done to address issues outside of the school setting that affects children's perception of themselves - parent's view, eating habits at home, genetics, and favorite TV shows, just to name a few. Also, I think additional post tests should've been administered to see if the positive effects of the intervention were long lasting or short term. Did the interven-tion group regress to the level of the control group after 6 months or by the end of the year? Ethically, I do not see a problem with this study. The study spoke specifically that the control group was administered the prevention program after the intervention testing was completed. It did not appear that any child suffered either short or long term harm from the intervention testing. Though it was not addressed, one might assume that the parents of the children were notified of the study and permission was obtained for their child to be involved.
Personally, I think that it would be beneficial to children to hear positive interventions as to the benefits of eating healthy, exercise, and self esteem building exercises.

Kristie R said...

The article claims this intervention was effective based simply on the students perception of their bodies. It would be interesting to see a six or twelve month follow up evaluation to determine how long lasting the effects of this intervention is. While the intervention was somewhat effective during the study, it may likely not have the long lasting effects that researchers are hoping for.

Anonymous said...

I believe that this program focused on the correct age range. I think that children begin to be aware of their bodies more once they become school age and are around other children. I do not feel that it was a good idea that this program avoided talk of eating disorders and focused on "healthy eating". It is very important that children be aware of the dangers of an eating disorder and the real effects that they can have on their bodies. Some children view these as "quick fixes" and don't think of the later ramifications. Robin G.-Gadsden

Ariel C. said...

I believe that this type of intervention should have been tested on a different age group. The reason is because most pre-teens may have body image distortions because they are going through hormonal changes with their body. It is hard enough to transfrom from grade to school to middle school with the stress of acne. In my opinion, the intervention should be tested on 10th graders rather than 6th graders. The reason it should be tested on 10th graders is because most if not all should have reached puberty and have gone through the transitional stress of moving from middle school to high school.

Ariel C.

Ariel C. said...

Re Robin: I understand why you think the article focused on the correct age group. Eating disorders and negative body images are affecting very young children this day in age. However, i would like to disagree about this article using 6th graders for this particular study. The thoughts of body image at this age is normal and stems from children transitioning into teenagehood.

Ariel C.

amanda said...

I do not find it hard to believe that children are becoming concerned with their bodies at younger ages. In fact, two of my three nieces are concerned with their bodies. They are 11 and 13. The 13 year old started at a very young age, about 7. The 11 year old is a twin and her twin is thinner and taller. They will refuse to try on clothes in bigger sizes because that would make them fat. It is ridiculous. We have had several discussions on the way clothes fit not the size and that if clothes are to tight then you look bigger. I have also told them, no one is looking at the size of your pants; it is not displayed on the outside. None of these talks have worked. So I think that the study was a good one. I think that children need to be taught at a young age that their body is fine the way it is and the girls the see on TV are the minority not the majority. I also think that children need to learn about healthy eating, especially since families are busier and eat out more. I also agree that the children should not be taught about the symptoms of eating disorders because I think it could give them ideas on how to lose the weight and possibly make them feel worse about themselves.

Amanda H

amanda said...

I agree with Kristie, I would like to see if the study was effective 6 months later. I know that the first few weeks of school can be hard, so I think the study was done at a good time. However, six months after the classes, I wonder if the children felt the same.
Amanda H

Stu J. said...

I am not impressed by the study. The short post-test interval undoubtedly should offer some short-term rating benefit. Further, it is my perception that many of us, particularly youth of this age range, have good and bad days in terms of their self image, so 3 distinct rating days may have little value. I do perceive that this is an important area of research and do appreciate the attempts of the researchers to address the issue.

Stu J. said...

Additional comment, I'd like to see an exercise and diet component of any such program. By addressing the issue from an educational, motivational, physiological, and nutritional basis, the likelihood of success is greater.

Stu J. said...

In response to Kristie, I agree that a delayed post-intervention would be helpful in affirming findings, the key question is how beneficial and lasting such a program can be.

Anonymous said...

original posting

I am glad to see that people are finally taking eating disorders seriously. It has taken too long to bring awareness to this issue. I actually had one of the professors in the school of social work argue with me last year that eating disorders were not a major problem. Since this is the area that I am interested in focusing on when I graduate I enjoy reading any information on the subject. The article did not surprise me; I knew younger children were being affected. It’s also a common misconception that only females are affected, but this is not true. I grew up doing gymnastics and when I was ten there were girls my age would had already been either anorexic, bulimic or both for at least a year or so. It is really scary to think that we have to look for these disorders not only in adolescents but now in children. I think a program that focuses on the factors contributing to eating disorders is a great idea. I agree with the article that if you teach children about extreme dieting measures or eating disorders they may actually end up with them. Teaching people who already have risk factors for developing an eating disorder can actually give them tips or ideas of how to become anorexic or bulimic. The one thing about the article that I did not particularly like is that the researchers stated “previous research has found that the Body-Esteem Scale for Children exhibits good internal reliability”, I would have liked it they were more specific about the scale and the research surrounding it.

Sara S. (Tuscaloosa)

Linda B said...

I agree with the treatment's approach of encouraging young folks to have a positive body image, and I feel that this type of intervention could be effective if incorporated into the school curriculum. How-ever, I don't believe that the method of research used can accurately measure whether this intervention will make a positive change that can reduce the number of eating disorders. In my opinion, taking a pre-test, post-test, and 1 month follow-up test doesn't give a measurement as to the long-term impact of this method of intervention.I agree that much more research is needed in this area, with longitude studies showing the effects of this type of intervention being included on a regular basis, beginnning with young children, and continuing into the teenage years.

Linda B said...

Address C Paulk's comments, I agree that children today have much more pressure to have a certain body image. I think that this message comes at them from many fronts. On the other hand, I think that Americans as a whole, including children, are more than ever consuming a fast-food, high-fat, and unhealthy diet. I feel that the need for good nutrition education is more important than ever.

Anonymous said...

I tend to support student age programs that provide knowledge and a clearer understanding of complex issues such as eating disorders. Focusing on improving global self-esteem and body esteem are important, but I believe addressing each eating disorder is equally as important. Many students are impressionable and receptive to positive guidance. Aiming an eating disorder program toward a middle school level is appropriate. It is imperative to seek help in the early stages of an eating disorder for recovery. The hardships that accompany the disorders are astonishing. I believe this program is in the right direction to address these issues. We are still in great need to continue education to gain a higher level of understanding. Knowledge is key for treatment and prevention. j. pickett

Sara S. said...

In response to Gina

Gina, you had several good points in your blog. I agree that the study should not have been done on just 6th graders. Maybe starting with even younger children could have more of a positive effect and prevent them from getting eating disorders. I enjoyed reading the article, but I think more information could have been included and readers would not have to wonder if parental consent was obtained. I also agree with you that a post-test would have been beneficial. I hope that more ethical and positive research studies are implemented in to school systems. Maybe we can decrease the number of children who are suffering from eating disorders.

Sara S. (Tuscaloosa)

Anonymous said...

In response to Robin's comment they did target the correct age group, but I also thought the idea that they did not talk about eating disorders and the focused on healthy eating was a mistake. Donna A.

Anonymous said...

I was not surprised by the statistics. Things have changed but I do remember several of my classmates having to be hospitalized due to eating disorders but we were in our teens. Today young girls are overwhelmed with ads and television on what size they have to be to be beautiful. And at their age they cannot process that you don't have to be a size 0.
I was not impressed by the study and would have like to seen more follow up and would like to see other studies with a more direct intervention.

T M Morgan said...

I think it is a good idea that there is no overt discussion of eating disorders in the curriculum. Kids at this age are so suggestable that the actual discussion of eating disorders might be enough to prompt some kids to head in that direction. I think focusing on a healthy body image is the way to go.

scarlett holt said...

I think that the program was a good start at least at addressing eating disorder issues with children of this age range. Additionally, it appeared that the program was effective to a degree, though it is unknown for how long. I did not feel that the study was unethical, though we do not know if any permission was gained from the appropriate persons.
S. Holt

Destin C Gadsden said...

I think that information is the best weapon to curb some of the complications school age children are experiencing today. The evidence revealed that some of the prevention disorder programs increased interest in dieting- however, so does ever facet of life children are involved in: t.v, magazines, hollywood, books, internet and certainly information subjected to at schooland by their peers. Sadly,programs that foster self esteem and empowerment may be counter to what some children are experiencing at home.I personally know parents who want the "barbie doll" or Schwarzenegger pysique for their child and begin attempts at attaining it in 4th or 5th grade. I agree exercise and proper diet should be promoted by parents first simply to implement a healthy lifestyle. However, some childrens parental influences are for the "image appearance" rather than the positive esteem and healthy body image. It is scary that eating d/o symptomatology has reached epidemic proportions and children are exposed (and have body disatisfaction) at such early ages. Its alarming! We have probably all felt that pressure growing up.Teach healthy living but instill in children that it is not the size of a person but the spirit.

Destin C Gadsden said...

I agree with you Chaun. Children are leading more sedentary lifestyles. I believe tv, computers,and video games have became replacements for: parents interaction with their children, activities that enhance exercise, and essentially babysitters for kids today. Successful instruction for a healthy lifestyle begins at home, within the educational systems, and through the media. Occassionally you will see the media counter act the stick models and attempt to influence youth of today that this is a dangerous self image.

Anonymous said...

Conteria Williams, original comment on Evaluation of an Eating Disorder Prevention

According, to the article I agree that the statistic about the youth of today are continuously increasing eating disorders. I also agree that one of the problems that we are dealing with today with eating disorder could coincide with low-self-esteem and body-esteem. However, the youth of today are not raised the old fashion way that we were, meaning that the young mothers don’t believe in cooking and are always looking for quick results like fast food restaurants. I personally feel that with all of the additional additives that are injected into the foods is playing a big part in individuals being overweight. Therefore, through education, healthier eating, and exercise is the only way that I see this problem getting under control.

Anonymous said...

Conteria Williams, comment to Krisite R.

I agree that the program focus was short-term; however, I wonder how different would it be it was examined for at least one year. But regardless of how long the researches choose to conduct this study, I feel that the only way to get the results one is looking for is through education and exercise

Taylor said...

In my opinion this prevention program raises some ethical dilemmas. It really isn’t fair to withhold preventative information from some girls (and boys) for research purposes. Eating disorders are destructive to everyone’s health and all girls (and boys) should be informed about their consequences. I am glad the control group received the course materials after the intervention, but I think all of the students in the school system should have been given the information.

Taylor said...

I agree with Gina. I am so tired of seeing 90 lb women parade around our TVs. No wonder 5-10 million girls and 1 million boys suffer from eating disorders in this country! Honestly, an effective prevention program should probably be placed on movie and TV sets. Then young girls (and boys) would not be exposed to such extreme beauty standards.

Anonymous said...

In reference to Gina's comment. I agree about the media influence in promoting a negative self image early in children. The study definitely is a step in the right direction in addressing the problem youth continue to face with eating disorders, teaching healthy eating habits, exercise, and healthy body image
C Paulk.

David L. said...

The article pertaining to eating disorders was not a surprising article to read, but it reminded me of the many pressures that young adolescents face on a daily bases. I believe that this epidemic of eating disorders among young adolescents is based on their self-esteem. Honestly, I think America has a larger problem than children establishing better eating habits or becoming more active, but a greater issue of how the younger generation “feels” about their selves. Society and illusions that Hollywood has presented to our youth has corrupted their perceptions immensely and is showing its face in the form of problems such as eating disorders. On a brighter note, it was encouraging to read that programs were implanted in school districts around the nation to promote self-esteem in our younger population. Ultimately, programs that apply prevention methods at early stages of issues such as eating disorders will hopefully result in better outcomes for the youth.
D. Lee

SWilliams said...

Gina, I have to agree with you about the influence in today’s society with the influence of weight. Turning on almost any TV show or picking up any magazine, you will find celebrities and TV stars that are slim, with very little exposure of overweight people. Just the other day I found a tabloid magazine at my office that was several years old but still holds true today. The magazine had several celebrities that were extremely skinny and actually told their weight, all under 100 lbs. If an adolescent who wanted to be “popular,” they could possibly assume that they needed to be that weight. While there are no easy answers about this issue, the media influences so much of today’s society. Until the media begins to make changes, I am afraid that there will continue to be many adolescents and adults who suffer from these disorders.

SWilliams said...

While this is a start in addressing the issue of eating disorders, there still are issues that need to be addressed. Teenagers are bombarded everyday with many different aspects of weight. Healthy eating and body image is a good option, but including other aspects such as exercise, self-esteem, as well as outlets for expressing themselves would be good to include in programs like this. I would be interested in looking at the long-term affects of this study. While self-esteem is an issue with regard to eating disorders, it is important to address a variety of aspects. Our society sometimes chooses to focus on telling our youth, just do not do it. This is an option to deter them from doing these behaviors, maybe looking at telling these youth the negative consequences as well. For some it may be too late and others may not fully grasp the long terms effect of eating disorders. Eating disorders can have long-term negative side effects and teenagers should be aware. Focusing on the positive is good, but more needs to be done.

ojwashington said...

I was really surprised by the fact that eight year olds are having issues with eating disorders. I have always thought that most children with eating disorders usually are affected because thier self image. They often have low self esteem issues because they compare themselves to the society's views of the perfect body. I have never thought about the effects that these images of "perfection" would have such a negative impact on younger generations. This article was very informative in that it educated me on the scope of this problem.

ojwashington said...

Re: Chaun


I do agree with you that in addressing the issue it is more effective with starting with younger children. I believe in being proactive instead of reactive when addressing issues.

S.Ray said...

The purpose of the study was to test the effectiveness of a prevention curriculum in regard to eating disorders. There were two groups and in the group that received the intervention emphasis was placed on critical thinking in terms of attitudes about body size and how that is influenced by family/peers and especially the media/society. The evaluation pointed out that measurements from the study were composed of two scales, both using yes or no questions. Both scales exhibited good internal reliability and consistency; however researchers believe that the use of a Likert Scale would have been better served. This would have allowed participants to have a greater range in choices and the detention of subtle changes would have been apparent. The study was deficient in that the number of the population that participated was restricted. The subjects were chosen from the same rural community of 5000 and were predominately of the same ethnic background. Personally, I believe any type of prevention curriculum should be implemented before the junior high school years. Other studies have shown children as young as 8 and 9 years of age are concerned with appearance and body image

S.Ray said...

I agree with Kristie R. A follow up evaluation would be interesting to see what lasting effects, if any, this preventive curriculum had on the students. I believe the constant images the media continues to display as the “perfect” body types will have more of an effect on our youth, than any short term educational program may have.

David L. said...

Scarlett, I think the program was a least a starting point. This is a tremendous issue in our younger generation and creating prevention programs is salient to informing and engaging young people with eating disorders. However, evaluating the results and the outcomes will be beneficial to effectively help these children with self-esteem and eating disorder issues.
D. Lee

Karen P said...

EVALUATION OF AN EATING DISORDER PROGRAM

Children as young as 8 years old are dissatisfied with their bodies! Is this an alarming statement? I would concur that it is. Is it a surprising statement, not in the least? Let’s consider the physiques of some of our elementary age and middle school aged children. I am sure most of you can agree that a good number of them are more developed (physically) and look much older than what they really are. Unfortunately, our children will be exposed to problems with their self-image, body esteem, and eating disorders (as addressed in this article) much earlier than may have been expected when we were their ages. There are so many more pertinent issues that have to be considered when talking about a prevention program. The finally portions of the article hinted to the need for deeper analysis into the areas of parental influence; hormonal changes that affect mood and sexuality; and stressors related to performance and achievement in school and extracurricular activities. I totally agree with this assertion. If we are going to look at a prevention program for eating disorders, we must consider the impact of some of these aforementioned influences (and others) that can contribute both positively and/or negatively to the prevention process.

Karen P.

LaTasha T. said...

Middle school years are often awkward for many students. I am not surprised at all about children developing eating disorders at such a young age.

I am concerned with the results that occurred during the one month follow up period. The researcher stated that the group that received the intervention had improvement in attitude about weight while the group that did not receive the intervention did not show improvement. I think that this could cause additional psychological problems. I believe that there should be some kind of additional treatment for this group.

I think that the individuals who conducted the study could have used different age groups to make the study be more effective. The individuals that were in the study were in middle school . . I think that the researchers could have used individuals in high school to compare the differences in attitudes.

Overall, I think that the study could be improved.

LaTasha T. said...

RE: Stu J

I agree that the researchers could benefit from doing a follow-up to this study. I was disturbed that the control group had a decreased in attitude about their body image. I believe that this group should have been offered some type of psychotherapy treatment to help address this issue.


Lastly, I do not encourage diet for anyone. However, I think that the children in this study should be educated on the importance of choosing healthy foods and exercise.

STACY C said...

In response to Robin G. in Gadsden: I agree that it is important to address self-esteem and character building education in very young children. I believe that the preschool age child is the perfect age to be exposed to positive knowledge regarding self image and positive behavior. It has been my experience that this age group is able to comprehend and understand basic concepts and it is during this age that coping skills and behavior mechanisms are built that can follow these children for the rest of their lives. I do however, disagree that young children need to be exposed to the details of an eating disorder. Promotion of healthy perspectives and behaviors should be the focus. Prevention in young children is vital. Also, for younger children it is better to promote good health than to expose children to unhealthy behavior they may not have already been exposed to.

Stacey L said...

This was a very interesting article. It is very scary to think that eating disorders are affecting children at younger ages. What was really alarming was the fact that research is now showing that body dissatisfaction is now occurring in children as young as 8. This is the current age of my youngest daughter. I feel that the children are faced with a no win situation. We have cut back the time for physical education class, also recess, more computer games, TV, etc that keeps a child in the house. It is not safe for your child to get out and ride their bike for fear of having your child kidnapped, etc. This inactivity has led our children and youth to have a higher rate of obesity than we did about 10 years ago. Obesity leads to onset of diabetes, high blood pressure, problems with keeping a healthy weight as you get older, etc. So it is a fine line that we as parents have to walk. We do not want our children to have problems with obesity, but also do not want our children to think they are fat and this lead to an eating disorder. So what is a parent to do? Stacey L

Wanda said...

I feel that this study was very informative however, the initial reasons for the interventions were not arlarming. This obsession with body image and size has been a growing epidemic for years now. Children are learning early on these distorted images of perfection. I believe that parents need to be educated on the benefits of helping their children develop a positive self image and the importance of building self esteem. I think that if a child has that consistant positive reinforcement he/she would have a greater chance of avoiding the pressures associated with the societal pittfalls this perfect body obsession.

Anonymous said...

This evaluation clearly shows the magnitude of a serious problem facing students today. Pre teens and teens are faced with peer problems and fitting in on an everyday basis. At this age, how you look and how you perceive your look effects you tremendously. Young people get bombarded daily with "Say No" messages, so this program, "Healthy Body Image: Teaching Kids to Eat and Love Their Bodies Too!" is an alternative to your typical programs about something you should not do. This was a good age group to include because kids this age are so impressionable and are maturing earlier than many of us did. The idea of "if we can reach them at an early age, then maybe stop future problems if novel, but it doesn't reach everyone. The participants were mostly European American, so this really can't be generalized to other populations or schools outside of the rural town of 5000. I agree with the article that the use of Likert Scales should be used by researchers who wish to study this subject more. The participants were limited in making their choices, but maybe this was deliberate as they are young responders.
Angel-Tuscaloosa

Anonymous said...

Regarding Robin G's comment
You make a good point about children becoming aware of their bodies when they begin school. Kids today have so many pressures and their lifestyles are very different than when we were growing up. I remember taking health classes and the teachers telling us what we should and should not be doing. Students today are in a different time period than us and teaching methods have changed. I think it is a good idea to focus on "healthy eating" instead of "eating disorders". This is something that should be learned at home, but unfortunately it is not. I think they need to learn what healthy eating is before learning about what unhealthy eating is.
Angel-Tuscaloosa

Stacey L said...

In regard to several post, this was a young age to complete the
research on. Going through early adolescents is hard enough, then add going into middle school, acne, etc, then add onto it that “what is the perfect size”. I feel that the study would have been better suited for high school kids. I agree that we need to start at an early age with encouraging health eating habits, which in turn will help the children maintain an ideal weight, which will improve their self image, and hopefully this will decrease the risk of having an
eating disorder. Stacey L

Anonymous said...

This is a sad, but however a true problem effecting children and adults now days.I do believe much of it begins at an early age from too many magazine and tv ads making thin appear as beauty.I also believe some parents have a strong impact on this, because the mother has her own weight issues, and is obsessed with being thin. Therefore, without realizing it she demonstrates this idea in front of her children. I have seen this in children that say they want to be skinny like mom. As adults, parents should be more responsible and educated on this issue and consider how it may be effecting their children.
Faye

Anonymous said...

I agree with Amanda that children should not be given the symptoms of eating disorders. This could possibly give them ideas of how to lose the weight and they don't have the maturity and insight at such an age to see the outcomes of such behavior. I think the problem of self esteem should be addressed very early and concentration be on accepting yourself and developing coping skills for life's problems. This disorder has so much to do with feelings of having no control over your life,that I think adolescents should feel they have some say so and control over their life. I have heard so many Anorexic's state this was the only thing they had any control over and nobody could make them eat. A friend of mine got down to 88lbs and almost died in her early twenties due to this factor. She is now in her thirties and maintains a healthy weight but fights it everyday.
Faye

chadknight said...

This was a very interesting article. I was surprised to learn that some previous interventions focusing on eating disorders actually caused increased restrictive dieting behaviors. The results of this study were not reassuring. The experimental group showed no improvement but only remained constant. School administrators should be very cautious implementing such curricula in their districts. Eating disorders are very dangerous and serious issues facing young children and additional research is needed in developing interventions to combat the problems.

chadknight said...

Response to Ariel: That's a good point about the transitional stress. However, many children going through puberty do develop eating disorders and proper nutrition would be very important during this time of rapid body change. I think the age group is appropriate but am unsure about the effectiveness of the intervention.

Kristie R said...

I agree with Gina, a 1 and 2 year follow up with pre and post tests would have been useful for this evaluation. And yea, the study should have taken into account how stressful the environment can be when it comes to being thin and having eating disorders.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kristie R. that it is important to view long term results to see how positively the intervention affects the clients in the long run.

V Holloway Tuscaloosa.

Anonymous said...

I believe that it is important to develope a program to address this serious and every growing condition. Eating disorders are often over looked and minimized, as family members do not realize the seriousness of the disease. I beleive that this is a positive program that needs to be implemented in schools through out the nation to bring awareness to eating disorders.
V Holloway, Tuscaloosa

Walter L. said...

response to anonymous, I totally agree with anonymous things have change since I was a child. We were doing good to have three meals a day. The ideal of pruging after eating was not a thought. Eduction is needed for children to understand the long term affects. Walter L.

Walter L. said...

I founded this to be an interesting topic of children at such an early age. Children are worried about their appearance in grades 4-6 I am getting old. The research results is a wake-up call to parents. When children practice unhealthy behaviors to be accepted by others this can lead to life threating consequences in the long run. Children must be educated to the dangers of this behavior.

Karen P said...

Response to Wanda:

Parental reinforcement of a positive self-image and good self-esteem is so important. From the moment our children are born, the cultivation process of their personalities, value and belief systems, and moral standards of judgment begins. Particularly early in life, they mirror our behaviors, our speech and verbal cues, and they embrace and respond to our teachings and directions on what is right/wrong and acceptable/unacceptable behaviors and actions. Most parents can easily address and provide for the basic and physical needs of their children, but the same care and effort has to be extended towards nurturing their emotional and psychological needs as they grow. Consistent positive reinforcement from parents in a child’s life can help combat potential problems associated with a negative self-image that can lead to eating disorders or more severe problems.

T M Morgan said...

I agree with Chad, eating disorders are very difficult to treat and it would be irresponsible for a school district to implement a program that was not proven effective. It is great that they are concerned about issues such as these, but more research is needed before jumping in to endorse or utilize a particular program.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Stacy L,
I agree with you about the schools. They are cutting back, if not all together on physical education classes, so how are kids supposed to get exercise? What has happened to all the health education classes? Kids need to be exposed to health classes earlier than high school. I think if you wait until then to talk with some of these kids, it will be too late. They are very impressionable and the earlier schools can reach them, a more positive outcome.
Angel-Tuscaloosa

Anonymous said...

- RESPONSE

I agree with some of the other posters that are reflecting on their own childhood and how times have/are changing. It is no surprise that eating disorders are affecting kids earlier in life, as do most trends. Therefore, education must follow suit and direct it to the appropriate audience. Supposedly this is the first generation of children that actually have a life expectancy lower than their parents; which is due mainly to diet and an inactive lifestyle. (It is probably more dangerous as well) Regardless of where the perception of body image stems from, the reality is that kids are engaging in dangerous behaviors which need to be addressed regardless of age. A real concern should be the quick fix option. As cosmetic surgeries become more and more main-stream, youth may see that as an alternative than actually putting in the work and achieving healthy results the “natural” way. I agree that teaching about proper nutrition and exercise (not football) is a major component. Just because some are thin, does not mean they are healthy and vice versa.

- ORIGINAL

Ethically I see no problem at the target age population. I thought it was a good study and that it fulfilled its aim. I think it is a good starting point for future research projects on this topic and some valuable information was obtained. I liked the fact that suggestions were made for future research on this topic: using a Likert Scale, a greater emphasis placed on developmental trends occurring earlier in life, and more in depth analysis of an intervention program that will aid future endeavors.

Matt G. (Gadsden)

Anonymous said...

I think it’s important to stress the points of healthy eating and loving yourself, however, I really feel like they need to address eating disorders and education about them as well. This program appears to be relatively weak. I think they needed to address younger children if their main focus was going to omit talk about eating disorders. I think it would be possible to discuss with 1st and 2nd graders the importance of self care and healthy body image, but by the time you reach older youth they have passed this stage and are so bombarded with images that show you are not important if you are not thin, that you have to address eating disorder with them. Kids become aware that they are different then others at a very young age and quickly realize what body images are seen as better. I think addressing eating disorders and educating on the long term results as well as short term issues is the best defense.
Heather M.

Anonymous said...

In response to Michelle, I agree that it is risky when explaining eating disorders to kids of this age, due to their high level of suggestibility. However, I think it’s an even higher risk to omit the information completely when addressing body image to this target population. I think it definitely depends on the child that you are addressing, but overall I think that it’s a lot like sex, kids are going to hear about it anyway, so it should be from a good source that provides them with correct information and education about the dangers and effects.
Heather M.

Tysie Baker said...

First, let me start by saying that I was not prepared for what I was about to read. I thought that I was going to read about a new study that was trying to reduce problem of eating disorders altogether without empowering the individuals. I thought the article was very interesting in that it brought forth alarming information. I was uninformed about children actually developing eating disorders as early as 8 years old and including both males and females. Also, it was interesting to find that some prevention programs have been harmful to children and adolescents in that it raises concerns for children practicing dieting techniques. The prevention program curriculum Healthy Body Image seems that it would be a success because it increased awareness about self esteem and empowerment, instead of focusing on the actual eating disorder. According to the findings, Healthy Body Image proved to be successful because those involved in the intervention group did not report negative feelings or decline in body esteem for weight over their assessment intervals; whereas, those in the control group did feel worse about their perceived weight.

Tysie Baker said...

I must agree with Amanda, it is ridiculous how television and movie stars have made appearance be the all most important factor in life. I believe that if children could see more people with a healthy weight then it would allow them to be more comfortable knowing that you do not have to be razor blade thin to be accepted. It is a sad problem that our society is facing because we have children that face obesity, which could be classified as an eating disorder. It seems that we are trying to find the lesser of two evils and it is impossible to find the common ground.

nikkig said...

I noticed that the article referenced young girls and boys receiving the intervention in the eating disorder program. However, it is always interested to me that the health care community acknowledges that anorexia and bulimia are problems that manifest among males, but still no significant attention is giving to young men and boys.
As for the findings that show an increase in body esteem problems among some participants, this brings to my attention the fear of many parents that if sex education is introduced during the school yeas, curiousity will be heightened.
Even still, with the implications of increased body esteem problems, what did the researchers offer in light of these problems? It seems to me that this program definitely brings some ethical dilemmas forward that would need to be considered along with possibly revamping the program so that the benefits outweight the consequences.

nikkig said...

In response to Kristie R,
I know that the program presented success upon intervention, however, some particpants of the study suffered body esteem problems following the one-month follow up period. So I agree with you, that after one year follow up, the participants may be much worse off than they were prior to intervention. This again raises an ethical dilemma with regard to how the program is conducted.

R.A.Montgomery said...

MY RESPONSE
I really was not surprised by the outcomes of the research because of the present world we live in. I am not as active as I once was and my child is even less active than I am now. Families today to not promote physical activities. There are schools that have no physical education studies, but there electrons games and computers, which promote a inactive life style. I saw a commercial promoting physical education once where a couple of boys were playing a video game, fantasying about how good they are on a motorcycle, when the avatar began to talk to them about how he became a successful motorcycle champion I found that to be a very intense statement. The intervention, Healthy Body Image: Teaching Kids to Eat and Love Their Bodies Too! Focused on the positive prevention of eating appropriately instead of the different eating disorders. I found this article late but I found it very interesting, especially with the negative imagery that is populating the television and fashion world today. I liked the fact that student exposed to the intervention had a more positive body image. However, body image just like any other image comes from positive or negative esteem issues. I know it is not always the case but positive self-esteem should be something that a child receives from parental teachings, and not fashion or television. Body esteem based on appearance was not affected by the intervention, but body esteem based on how one was perceived did. “Between pre- and post- testing a large jump occurred in the control group suggesting the control group saw others as perceiving them more negatively”.


MY REPLY:
Gina Smith

I found your point to be very insightful, and you are right.

“I do not find it hard to believe that children today, even preschoolers, are obsessed with their weight and appearance. TV shows, commercials, movies, video games, and even children's shows portray people that are overweight as unattractive, slobbish, rude, etc. Very rarely do you see an actress or actor, whether child or adult, who is overweight portrayed in a serious or attractive light. I will admit that there are more now than when I was a child, but they are still a minority”.

I know it is not right, but I believe that over weight people are the becoming the new minority that everyone else feels obligated to insult or give dirty looks. In addition, it is no surprise that are children are becoming larger or have distorted body images, look at what they see on a daily bases, everywhere they go.

PS. Gina have you seen this on the Internet?
Lawmakers in the state of Mississippi have created a bill to prohibit restaurants from serving food to obese people. Bill282 reads, Any food establishment to which this section applies shall not be allowed to serve food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health...

Debbie Walker said...

I thought that is was interesting that previous program evaluations indicated that some education/prevention programs that offered detailed information relating to behaviors and symptoms of eating disorder may have contributed to an increase in eating disorders of the participants. Providers of these prevention/education services have a great responsibility to search for evidence-based programs that will have a positive effect on these kids lives.

Anonymous said...

The article began by giving an abstract that discussed how over 5-10 million women and 1 million men suffer from eating disorders. The article was interesting because it helped me to see that not only do men suffer from eating disorders, but men as well.
I have watched women for many years suffer from eating disorders, because of the worlds concepts of how a women should appear and never have witnessed much dispute on how a man should appear. The article helped me to have a new perspective on how men suffer as well as women.
I also loved how the article dealt with addressing the disorder during school age children. I know that there are many articles that deal with children having eating disorders and know that it is a very prevelant issue that should be addressed.
Overall, this is an extremely important article because it deals with the issues that our children as well as their parents may be dealing with to address eating disorders.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ariel C. response; however, I also feel that a lot of children are suffering from obesity due to their family influences. Hormones do have a lot to play with teenagers; however, information that a child has learned from their family can influence their eating habits and lead to obesity.

Debbie Walker said...

I agree with Sara it is great that we are adressing this issue of body image vs health/well being with children. Our children are exposed to way too much media regarding to perfect body instead of loving and taking care of our body.