Family criticism can lead to more weight gain
Women whose loved ones are critical of their weight may actually be prompted to put on more pounds, according to a new study.
Scientists at the University of Waterloo collected data on university-age women, including height, weight and how they felt about their weight. Five months into the study, the participants were asked whether they had talked to loved ones about their weight and what responses they had received. Three months later, the researchers again assessed the participants’ weight and feelings about their weight.
The researchers found that the women who received a higher number of acceptance messages from loved ones–messages saying that they looked fine–were more likely to maintain or lose weight. In comparison, the women who received fewer acceptance messages and whose loved ones were more critical of their weight ended up gaining about 4.5 pounds on average.
The study’s findings, published in the journal Personal Relationships, suggest that if a woman feels badly about her weight, she may be less likely to be more active and eat healthier foods. Researchers added that receiving acceptance from close friends and family may help women feel better about themselves and therefore help motivate them to achieve a healthy weight.