The Media’s Impact On Kids And Body Image And What You Can Do To Help

kids and body image

Media has a huge impact on our everyday lives.

It’s impossible to escape the in-your-face photo-shopped images everywhere we turn, on magazine covers in the grocery store, on billboards, commercials, T.V., and movies.

And these unattainable images are especially confusing and unhealthy to the younger generation.

Kids And Body Image

In fact, kids are quite perceptive of the images they see on magazine covers, as well as the impossibly thin models on t.v., in the movies and music videos.

Kids are young and impressionable and they internalize so much of what they see presented as the “ideal”.

To show you what I mean, check out these alarming statistics:

  • 81% of 10-year-olds are scared of being “fat”.
  • 51% of 9 and 10-year-old girls say they feel better about themselves when they’re dieting.
  • 13% of 15 to 17-year-old girls acknowledge having an eating disorder.
  • One study found adolescent girls were more fearful of gaining weight than getting cancer, nuclear war or losing their parents.
  • By the time they’re 17, girls have seen 250,000 TV commercials telling them they should be a decorative object, sex object or a body size they can never achieve.

    kids and body image
    Though not discussed as much, boys are also affected by impossible “ideal” body shapes they see in the media.
  • Nearly 18 percent of adolescent boys have concerns about their bodies and their weight. Among those boys, half wanted to gain more muscle and a third wanted to gain muscle and get thinner.

Troubling, right?

Fortunately, there are ways you can help safeguard your child’s body image.

Protect Your Child’s Body Image

As you probably already know, as parents (or grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc) we can’t protect our children from everything. But there are steps we can take to lessen the amount of exposure our kids have to these unrealistic, airbrushed images. and help protect their body image. Here are some ideas  that we’ve used with our kids that might help:

  • If you enjoy subscribing to magazines, focus on purchasing educational or hobby-related ones. Our daughter loves Outdoor Photographer. We also get Bicycling and Popular Science. We have them in a basket in the living room for easy access.  Try to avoid having gossip and fashion magazines lying around because they tend to be full of photo-shopped images.
  • Talk to your kids and make sure they know they can come and talk to you about anything. Encouraging free communication opens the door to many fun conversations! Admittedly, some can be awkward, but we’ve survived, even with 4 teenagers! The bottom line is to keep talking because even if you don’t think your kids hear a word you’re saying, they are listening!
  • Be aware who your child is friends with. I always wanted our house to be a place
    kids and body image
    Get to know your child’s friends.

    where our kids’ friends could hang out.  This allows you to get to know their friends better, observe interactions and offer a safe environment. After our boys left for college, things have quieted down a bit. But the girls enjoy having their friends over, playing ukuleles or ping-pong.

  • Model  a positive self body image. I realize for some of us this may be a struggle, especially if we have our own body image issues to contend with. But, you can do it! Try to avoid the words “fat” and “diet” in your house. If you’re constantly on a diet and counting calories your kids will notice, especially if you have girls. And they may think that’s what you’re supposed to do. In fact, an alarming number of very young girls are dieting these days. And it’s unhealthy for their developing bodies.
  • Avoid labeling foods as “bad” or “good”. Focus on foods you eat anytime or often (such as fruits and veggies) and foods you eat on occasion or rarely (such as dessert).

The Takeaway

Constant exposure to photo-shopped images in the media can have a negative impact on body image, especially for young children. Adults can help kids by modeling a good self body image, being involved in their child’s life through active and frequent conversations and being aware of who their child’s friends are.


What is your opinion about media’s impact on society? What tips would you add to this list?

Please post your comments below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!


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What Is Body Shaming And Why Is It So Bad?

body shaming

A shocking 30 million people will suffer from an eating disorder sometime in their life.

About 1,000 women die each year from eating disorders due to malnutrition, heart attack and suicide.

81% of 10-year-olds are scared of being “fat”.

51% of 9 and 10-year-old girls say they feel better about themselves when they are dieting.

9 and 10-year-olds!

body shaming
Many young girls are concerned about being “fat”.

Just let that sink in for a minute.

Not much gets me riled up lately quite like body shaming…Just ask my husband. 🙂 Not that he has or ever would body shame me because he hasn’t.

When we’re at home we might giggle when our “hilarious” daughter, Maddie (who so lovingly refers to me as “Mama Nori”) sometimes says in her deepest voice, “Big Mama Nori Hungry!” the lasting affects of body shaming are no laughing matter.

As you read in the statistics above, eating disorders (ED) are a serious problem for many people. And, according to the stats, ED patients are getting  younger and include more people.

Some of the reported causes of ED include teasing, bullying and dieting to “look better”, all of which could be related to body shaming.

What Is Body Shaming?

According to the dictionary, body shaming is “the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.”

According to Walden Eating Disorders, body shaming shows up in different ways:

  1. Criticizing your appearance or comparing yourself to someone else (“I’m so fat.” “She’s so much prettier than me.”)
  2. Bashing another person’s appearance to their face (“You’re never gonna get a date until you lose 20 pounds.”)
  3. Criticizing another person behind their back (“At least you look better than him.” “She’s so skinny. I know she’s anorexic.”)

So, mindbodygreen.com, said in a recent article that body shaming can include the following behaviors:

  • A focus on dieting instead of nutrition (dieting focuses on looking a certain way, nutrition focuses on nourishing our body)
  • Refusing to ever indulge (it’s healthy to allow yourself occasional treats)
  • Idolizing body types presented by the media (God makes us all special, unique and created for a purpose)
  • Shaming people who are ‘’too skinny’’ (enough said)
  • Judging the variety of body types in the exercise room….or office, grocery store, etc.  (see above)
  • Judging others for conforming behaviors, despite understanding pressure we face from society (Can you relate?)
  • Judging personal expressions of sexuality  (believing certain body types should only wear certain styles of clothing)
  • Not knowing our own bodies  (such as avoiding looking at yourself in a mirror)
  • Defining beauty simply as a look, rather than a state of mind (believing beauty is only skin deep and missing the more meaningful attributes which make us who we are)

Dr. Jennifer Greenberg is a research director at Massachusetts General Hospital. She works with patients who suffer from severe fixations on their appearance. When asked about the constant barrage of the media influence she had this to say:

“The more that you’re exposed to these unrealistic, unattainable ideals, the more you’re likely to compare yourself or even compare others to those ideals, and the worse you tend to feel about yourself.”

Let’s Get Personal

body shaming
Love your body!

Have you ever experienced body shaming?

If so, how did you feel? Angry, hurt, or maybe even empowered?

Did you confront the body shamer?

Or, maybe you were the one doing the shaming.

Trust me. I’ve had plenty of “open mouth, insert foot” moments in my life, so let’s just be honest here.

What do you think led you down the path of body shaming in the first place?

Were you feeling lonely? Jealous? Or was it something else?

I think it’s important that we as a society examine what causes people to think body shaming is okay. In many circles is seems to be harmless acceptable norm.

May I just say, NOOOO!

It’s not okay, and we’re doing ourselves and our children a huge disservice by overlooking body shaming.

We need to confront body shaming when it happens. We don’t have to be all in your face about it. Just address what was said and how it makes you (or others) feel.

The Takeaway

Body shaming is a real problem in our society. It’s something people do to others. It is also something we do to ourselves and is not healthy.

It’s essential to confront body shaming when you witness it. Talk about how it makes you feel so you can work towards developing a healthy body image.


What are your thoughts or experiences with body shaming? Please share below in the comments section. I love hearing from you and will reply to your comments as soon as possible!


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13 Curcumin And Turmeric Benefits: An Impressive Healing Spice

turmeric benefits

Turmeric is a spice belonging to the ginger family. It is commonly used in Asian food, such as curry. The vibrant yellow-orange color and zesty flavor make a delicious and healthful addition to a variety of dishes.

Curcumin is a yellow chemical produced by the turmeric plant. It is loaded with antioxidants!

Many studies show that turmeric is more effective than many prescription drugs. And, because turmeric is all-natural, it comes without the bothersome side effects of prescriptions.

Turmeric benefits make it one of the most impressive nutritional dietary supplements available. So read on to learn what makes this spice so unique.

13 Curcumin And Turmeric Benefits

1. A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

When our body experiences long-term inflammation it can lead to a host of diseases. In fact, it’s now believed that most Western chronic diseases involve ongoing inflammation. This includes cancer, metabolic disorders, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and many other diseases.

Amazingly, the curcumin in turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, as strong as effective as some pharmaceuticals without the side effects (1).

2. Can Help Prevent And Treat Cancer

Cancer is a horrible disease caused by out-of-control growth of abnormal cells.

Encouraging research studies show that curcumin may help prevent and treat different types of cancer. (2)

3. A Natural Painkiller

Results of a study in the European Journal of Pharmacology show that curcumin turns on the opioid systems in lab animals. This our body’s natural pain-killing response.

The U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research recommends that burn victims be treated with all-natural curcumin instead of addictive opioids. This trend away from prescription opioids is a very good one if you ask me.

4. May Reverse Depression Symptoms

In one study, curcumin was shown to be as effective as prozac in treating patients with depression. (4) And, once again, without the side effects.

Evidence also suggests curcumin increases the brain’s serotonin and dopamine levels. (5, 6).

5. A Natural Treatment For Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain, inflammation and stiffness in the joints.

In a study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2012, patients with rheumatoid arthritis were given curcumin. It was found to be more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug for treating their arthritis symptoms. (7)

6. May Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that destroys the memory. One feature of Alzheimer’s is the buildup of Amyloid plaques. Research shows curcumin can help wipe out these plaques. (8)

7. Lowers Heart Disease Risk

turmeric benefits
Curcumin my lower the risk of heart disease.

Heart disease kills more people worldwide than any other disease.

There are many things that contribute to it, but curcumin may help reverse some of these processes. (9)

The endothelium is the lining of the blood vessels. It is essential in maintaining proper blood pressure and blood clotting. Studies show that curcumin can improve endothelial function, which is essential in preventing heart disease. (10)

8. A Powerful Antioxidant

Antioxidants protect our bodies from damage caused by free radicals. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that can counteract free radicals. (11)

Curcumin can also activate the body’s antioxidant-producing enzymes. (12)

9. Lower Blood Sugar And Reverse Diabetes

Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications published a study in 2009 out of Auburn University that found turmeric can help reverse Type 2 Diabetes.

Furthermore, the study noted that curcumin is 200 times more potent than Metformin (a leading diabetes medication) when it comes to initiating AMPK, which improves insulin sensitivity. (13)

10. Can Help Heal The Gut

Over time, taking prescription drugs can damage the stomach floral and intestinal lining causing a host of gastrointestinal issues.

A review of all the studies assessing curcumin’s ability to manage inflammatory bowel disease found many patients improved so dramatically by taking curcumin that they were able to stop taking prescription steroids they’d been taking prior. (14)

11. Regulates Cholesterol

A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D found that curcumin was as effective or more effective at treating symptoms of high cholesterol than Lipitor. (15)

12. Reduces Risk Of Childhood Leukemia

Children under 5 are more susceptible to leukemia. However, in Asian countries there is a lower incidence of leukemia, likely related to diet. For example, curry is a popular dish there and curry contains turmeric.

Research shows that consuming turmeric may reduce childhood leukemia (12).

13. May Increase Longevity

Because turmeric is rich in antioxidants and helps prevent and reverse many serious diseases, it may add years to your life (or life to your years).

Either way you look at it, turmeric and curcumin are great choices if you’re searching for an anti-aging supplement. So read on for info about how to get the most benefits from this amazing spice.

How To Use Turmeric

turmeric benefits
Curcumin is used to flavor many dishes, including this vegetable curry.
  1. Add it to your food. Popular in curry dishes, it’s also a great way to spice up soups, eggs, meat and veggie dishes.
  2. Take it as a supplement. I recommend taking one with black pepper, which contains piperine. The piperine greatly enhances the absorption of the turmeric, like as much as 2000%. Here’s an example of a turmeric curcumin supplement with piperine.
  3. Drink turmeric tea. Here’s a simple recipe, courtesy of realsimple.com:

 Replace the water with coconut or almond milk if you prefer, and modify according to taste, adding spices such as cinnamon, ginger or cayenne and natural sweeteners.

  • 1-2 cups of boiling water
  • Add 1-2 teaspoon of ground or freshly-grated turmeric (preferably USDA certified organic to avoid contaminants and pesticides) to the boiling water. If too strong, use less turmeric. Simmer for about 10 minutes along with any additional spices. If using freshly-grated turmeric, simmer for a few minutes longer.
  • Strain the tea into a cup and add lemon, milk or honey to taste.

The Takeaway

In closing, turmeric benefits are impressive, including reversing diabetes and depression, preventing Alzheimer’s, cancer, childhood Leukemia, and managing cholesterol and pain just to name a few. It’s also easy to take as a supplement or use to flavor your food or beverages.

I hope you enjoyed reading about curcumin and turmeric benefits because it really is an amazing spice!


Have you tried turmeric and curcumin? What do you think?

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Changing DNA To Eliminate Lyme Disease: Could It Be The Answer?

eliminate Lyme disease

A recent article in The New Yorker entitled, “Rewriting the Code of Life” focuses on an interesting idea, originating from a young MIT scientist, Kevin Esvelt. He believes a person’s DNA can be altered to make them immune to certain diseases, like cancer and Lyme disease.

As strange and futuristic as this may sound, testing has already begun.

So is this a legitimate way to eliminate Lyme disease? Here is what The New Yorker had to say:

Esvelt, who is thirty-four, directs the “sculpting evolution” group at M.I.T., where he and his colleagues are attempting to design molecular tools capable of fundamentally altering the natural world. If the residents of Nantucket agree, Esvelt intends to use those tools to rewrite the DNA of white-footed mice to make them immune to the bacteria that cause Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. He and his team would breed the mice in the laboratory and then, as an initial experiment, release them on an uninhabited island. If the number of infected ticks begins to plummet, he would seek permission to repeat the process on Nantucket and on nearby Martha’s Vineyard.

More than a quarter of Nantucket’s residents have been infected with Lyme, which has become one of the most rapidly spreading diseases in the United States. The illness is often accompanied by a red bull’s-eye rash, along with fever and chills. When the disease is caught early enough, it can be cured in most cases with a single course of antibiotics. For many people, though, pain and neurological symptoms can persist for years. In communities throughout the Northeast, the fear of ticks has changed the nature of summer itself—few parents these days would permit a child to run barefoot through the grass or wander blithely into the woods.

“What if we could wave our hands and make this problem go away?” Esvelt asked the eliminate Lyme diseasetwo dozen officials and members of the public who had assembled at the island’s police station for his presentation. He explained that white-footed mice are the principal reservoir of Lyme disease, which they pass, through ticks, to humans. “This is an ecological problem,” Esvelt said. “And we want to enact an ecological solution so that we break the transmission cycle that keeps ticks in the environment infected with these pathogens.”

There is currently no approved Lyme vaccine for humans, but there is one for dogs, which also works on mice. Esvelt and his team would begin by vaccinating their mice and sequencing the DNA of the most protective antibodies. They would then implant the genes required to make those antibodies into the cells of mouse eggs. Those mice would be born immune to Lyme. Ultimately, if enough of them are released to mate with wild mice, the entire population would become resistant. Just as critically, the antibodies in the mice would kill the Lyme bacterium in any ticks that bite them. Without infected ticks, there would be no infected people. “Take out the mice,” Esvelt told me, “and the entire transmission cycle collapses.”

I wish Kevin the best with his testing and hope the results are successful and far-reaching.

The Takeaway

In closing, this method may hold promise to eliminate Lyme disease. It has also been criticized, however. There are ethical and environmental considerations at play here.

Most importantly, let’s not forget the hundreds of thousands of people living the debilitating effects of Lyme each day with no relief in sight. Furthermore, they deserve immediate relief. We must keep moving towards finding a cure for Lyme disease.


What have you read about altering genetics and Lyme disease? Do you think this is a good idea or not? Please share your comments below in the comment section. I love hearing from you and will reply as soon as possible. 


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