January is a month full of discussion about diets, weight-loss and body transformations.
But Bodywhys, an organisation which works with people who have eating disorders, has warned adults to keep diet talk away from young ears.
“It is better not to dwell on the specific ins and outs of diets and weight loss or to verbalise food talk in a negative way in front of young children,” Barry Murphy, communications officer with the group said.
“It's important not to talk about food in a way that suggests that there is guilt involved or in a way that gives the impression that you're 'policing' your own food or diet behaviour using a very rigid approach.”
There are ways to incorporate a new healthy regime into the family home without causing difficulties for children around food however.
“When talking about food, focus on health rather than weight or appearance. A positive approach might be to let children know that some foods are healthier than others. Try saying instead some foods make them strong and mean they will have lots of energy, stay in a good mood and can enjoy things whereas some food which taste nice don't make you strong and can be bad for your teeth,” Mr Murphy said.
“Try to approach food in a balanced way rather than promoting an overly black and white approach towards specific types of food. You can complement the children on making healthy choices. Healthy eating should be a whole family approach.”
“Studies also show that children who have a healthy body image tend to make healthier food choices and exercise more.
“There is a lot of emphasis on appearance in the media and the beauty ideals that are promoted are unrealistic and often unhealthy - a slim physique for girls and a muscular look for boys,” he said.
But there are ways for parents to promote positive body images in children and teens, and again it starts with how parents discuss their own image.
"Be aware of how you speak about your own body. Ensure you do not make negative comments about other people's bodies or your own in a way that is degrading,” Mr Murphy said.
“Also be conscious of positive comments you make about bodies to ensure you do not inadvertently endorse media ideals
“Reflecting on your own attitudes to weight and body shape and adjusting your comments and behaviours can help to ensure you do not pass any negative attitudes you might have on to your children.”
Author Donna Kennedy contends that if you encounter difficulties in life, the key to success is taking power back rather than succumbing to your circumstances. The glamorous and strong 35-year-old from Westport knows all about transcending difficult experiences, as she has turned her own personal experience of sexual abuse, an eating disorder and wrongful hospitalisation into a force for good, and now works wonders at motivating and encouraging others to succeed.
The number of people living with one of the various eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder, is rising every year. Families all over this country are struggling to help someone who has an eating disorder, but Una Bennett, staff nurse at the Eating Disorder Unit at Saint John of God Hospital, Dublin, says there are multiple ways to support a loved one who is dealing with food issues.
Don't cry and don't raise your eyes - from your smartphone, that is. It's the gorgeously warm night before the Leaving Cert results come out and all across the country teenagers are fretting themselves to a restless sleep. Or at least we might imagine they are. The class of 2016, or Generation K as they were recently dubbed (after Katniss Everdeen, the grimly determined heroine of The Hunger Games), seems to be a bit more chill about things.
When Fiona Fitzgerald-McHugh was a teenager in 1980s Ireland, there was a dearth of information about calorie restriction and dieting. Yet it didn't stop her from obsessing about both, going so far as to order books from the US.