Star Power

Star Power
By:  Wendy Ray

Cape Girardeau, MO -- Lindsay Lohan, Mary Kate Olsen, and Nicole Ritchie are famous and admired by many teenage girls, but as their star power rises, their weight continues to fall.  Teen girls across the country see every step of the process plastered in magazines.  So what kind of effect does this have on teen girls? Southeast Hospital dietician Anita Smith says it can affect the behavior and attitude of your normal teenage girl in a negative way.  She says it’s important for parents to be aware this is going on, years before your child is even a teenager.

They’re hundreds of miles away from us when they walk on the red carpet, but pictures of thin teen stars hit home to some young girls in the Heartland.  “I feel like it influences me a little bit,” 19 year old Angie Temple says.  “I read fashion magazines.”   Angie admits she tries to exercise a little bit, but she doesn’t go to any extremes.  Neither do 18 year old Samantha Bueter and 19 year old Beth Horrell.  “They say thin is in, but I’m pretty confident in my own skin,” Samantha says.   

Dietician Anita Smith says stars do have more of an influence on some teens and their interest in being thin usually starts between the ages of nine to 12.  “That includes attitudes about their weight and their build, self esteem, what it's cool to look like,” she says.  Smith says that’s where parents need to step in and ask questions before their child hits the teen years.  She adds that if parents don’t do that, it may be too late when they get older.  “I think just opening up the conversation and talking about the feelings they have about their appearance and that sort of thing and giving them the chance to talk,” Smith says.

Smith adds that when you talk to your child about weight loss and body shapes, it would be a good time to evaluate what your family is doing.  Make sure you’re all eating right and living a healthy life.