Are you sending your children the wrong messages about food?

You might be without even realizing it. Many popular diets vilify certain foods, and that can have unhealthy consequences.

From my experience clinically, I've certainly seen more and more younger children that are developing eating disorders and often times the trigger is that they learn in school that sugar is bad, said Celia Framson, a clinical dietician at Seattle Children's Hospital.

Children often take that message to heart.

They begin to cut foods out and so the parents begin to think that's a good thing and so they may encourage it, but then that can lead to unhealthy, very restrictive eating behaviors, Framson said.

Instead, Framson said, it's important to teach children about eating a balanced, healthy diet.

Sometimes including foods I call 'treat foods,' not 'bad foods' or 'junk food,' so that children don't feel like they are bad for wanting to have those foods, she said.

Feeling bad and shamed can lead to eating disorders; so can having a parent who's dieting constantly. Framson advises parents to model good eating behaviors and to have family dinners as often as possible. The key is to focus on moderation, portion size and exercise. If you have a positive relationship with food, chances are your child will too.

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