The average American woman is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighs 117 pounds. For millions of girls, that difference translates into dangerous eating disorders and extreme diets.
Sometimes starvation diets, binging and purging and diet pills are used to correct a flaw that no one else can see.
A new study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, reports that there is a way to reduce the risk of an eating disorder - - a regular, family dinner.
Dr. Nancy McGarrah, a Psychologist, says, "If you have dinner with your family, including your kids, five nights a week, you have amazing results. You seem to have less incidence of a lot of problems that parents worry about with their teens."
In fact, the study found that teen girls who regularly had dinner with their family were 30 percent less likely to go on extreme diets or develop an eating disorder. Experts say, parents parents who sit and eat a healthy meal with their kids are good role models. Rachel Brandeis, with the American Dietetic Association says, "Studies show time and time again that children model parent's behaviors with food."
But experts also say that eating disorders are emotional disorders - - and a family meal is a chance for kids to be with those who love them most - - and that can help counteract what causes eating disorders in the first place.
Dr. McGarrah says, "You're having time with the family, you're showing your commitment to your kids, you are tailoring your day around your kids, you're having them tailor their day around that important time, and you're having open communication."