Dietainment: Unhealthy diet messages disguised as harmless entertainment.
You may have already come across this term earlier this year when Multi-Grain Cheerios launched a campaign to bring awareness to the impact unhealthy body image messages in media are having on kids. I remember thinking how this content is everywhere AND how much things have changed since I was a teenager in the 90’s.
I know it’s affecting my two daughters and honestly, that scares the heck out of me. I realize it’s not possible to lose 20 lbs in a week in a healthy way, but if my young tween daughter reads that headline, she may not. It is wrong on so many levels and I have no doubt that these dietainment types of headlines affect young girls’ self-esteem. It tells them that they need to be thin at any cost.
Watch this video to get a better understanding of dietainment.
Dietainment is everywhere. It’s online, on the cover of magazines, TV, you name it, I bet you’ll see something dietainment related. Get skinny! Lose weight FAST! I want my kids to know that simply is not true. They are beautiful the way they are and do not need to lose any weight! Dieting should not be a topic that my 11 year old discusses with her friends at sleepovers.
Another thing I noticed is that what was considered thin back when I was a teen is now considered to be average. I remember when Kate Moss first jumped into the modeling scene with her “waif” like appearance. My friends and I all said how crazy thin she was and how it wasn’t attractive. Now, that is considered the “norm”. Sad and scary.
Over the coming weeks, I plan to monitor how often my daughters are exposed to dietainment just to see how prevalent it is and the effect it’s having on them. I also want to talk to my girls about it and get their thoughts. I think the first step to tackling an issue is to recognize that it is, in fact, a real problem.
Multi-Grain Cheerios has a petition you can sign to help drive change in Canadian media by not promoting these dietainment messages. I’ve signed the petition and you can too. Over 16K Canadians have signed so far. Let’s keep the momentum going for change!
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.