Relationship with food and body
Emphasize that students can be healthy at a variety of body sizes and shapes (e.g., display images and use resources that show individuals with different body types). Students who feel positive about their bodies find it easier to make decisions that promote good health.
Tips on being a healthy role model in the classroom
- Modelling healthy eating behaviours (e.g. bring in lunches/snacks prepared at home that reflect comfort with a variety of foods).
- Speaking positively about food and eating habits without expressing personal food preferences.
- Dispelling assumptions based on stereotypes (e.g., thin students eat healthy, overweight students do not).
- Consider that growing children have different nutritional needs (including requirements for calories, calcium and dietary fat), compared to adults.
- Include weight and size discrimination when talking about bullying.
- Find out what to do if you suspect a student is struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder.
Tips for discussing societal norms around our bodies
- Emphasize that students can be healthy at a variety of body sizes and shapes (e.g., display images and use resources that show individuals with different body types). Students who feel positive about their bodies find it easier to make decisions that promote good health.
- Avoid making assumptions that an underweight or overweight student is not eating healthy food and requires an intervention or that an average-weight child is necessarily eating healthy food.
- Watch for, discuss and address issues related to weight-based teasing/bullying or weight bias.
- Focus on teaching decision-making skills that can optimize healthy behaviours (e.g., media literacy, challenging peer norms about weight and shape, stress management).
- Weight Bias and Stigma in Schools: Weight stigma is widespread, not well understood, and harmful. Schools have made gains reducing stigma around race, gender, and ability. This resource can help schools extend this work to create weight inclusive environments that are safe for all students.
Positive body image and mental health resources
Find resources at Promoting Positive Body Image through Comprehensive School Health
Guidelines for helping a student with a suspected eating disorder
So What is Normal?
What are Eating Disorders?
Eating Disorders In Youth
The Journey from Dieting to Healthy Eating
The Journey from Dieting to Healthy Eating: A resource for youth
Body Image and Disordered Eating
Eating and Nutrition