who told me he couldn’t handle it when I was pregnant and gained weight because then I was fat. . . . [B]oth [my parents and my husband] influenced me . . . but I think that growing up, [my parents] had the more positive effect . . . [and] that offset the negative that I had beenhearing from my husband. . . . [F]or the most part, I am happy with me.
- Female, early 40s
My mother never made me feel like I was big.She never did. Oh dear . . . I was a big girl, butI never knew it. . . . I always thought I was okaybecause of [my mother].
- Female, late 70s
• Teach critical thinking skills to children andadolescents so they can effectively evaluateand not internalize hurtful comments thatother people may make about their bodiesand/or physical abilities.
[The teasing was] just the typical fatty-fatty-two-by-four things, you know, poetry and stuff likethat. . . . I personally just thought, “Boy, thatwas really mean,” but . . . it just didn’t reallycatch on.
- Female, 40-ish
• Be a positive role model.
I . . . want my daughter to be friends with every-body. . . . I’d like to set the example. . . . I wouldn’t want her to be the one on the play- ground pointing the finger. . . . [K]ids have alldifferent body sizes.
- Female, mid-/late 20s
My goal now is to help my kids develop ahealthy lifestyle. . . . [T]here’s a lot of goodand bad choices that we make as humans. Andcertainly food and physical activity tie into twoof them. And perception of others’ [bodies] or your own body. If you perceive yourself ashaving a bad body type, that can be hard on yourself-image. So I think that’s something that I will pass on to my kids to make sure that they’reconfident. . . .
- Male in his 30s
• Foster and support physical activities thatinclude all youths and that help them enjoyphysical activity.
In high school . . . if you weren’t an athlete . . . as far as [the athletes and good-looking girls] wereconcerned, you were a scuzzbag. I . . . tried out for teams and I would make the team, but neverever had the opportunity to play and still put forth all the effort to be part of the team butnever got the reward of some playing time. . . .The ones that did get to play treated the onesthat never did play differently. And I think thathad a little bit of negative aspect on me, too.
- Male, mid-50s
I went from not being able to swim . . . at allto being a real good swimmer. . . . I think the fact that I had a coach that was very positiveand had the patience to teach me to swim hada big impact on me . . . and probably gave me alot of self-confidence to go forward with othersports. . . . ”
- Female, 40-ish
• Demonstrate respect for your spouse in termsof his or her body size or shape.
At the present time, I look at myself in themirror in a bathing suit, . . . and I think, “Oh,if I could just hold this in. . . . If I could just get down a little bit more, I would be morehappy.” . . . but I don’t let it stop me from goingswimming. . . . [A]nd my husband enjoys mycompany so much, and . . . he compliments me,and that goes a long way. I’ve got a good guy. I tell him all the time, “You make me feel youngand beautiful.” And he does.
- Female, mid-60sFrom a public health perspective, individuals needto feel competent to adopt and maintain a healthylifestyle, and they also need to feel worthy of livingit. Other people can encourage those feelings inindividuals around them by contributing constructivelyto the accumulated experiences of those otherindividuals. Individuals whose self-esteem is based ona sense of self-worth and competence in relation tobody image and physical abilities are more likely tohave the capacity and motivation to respect and carefor themselves by adopting, enjoying, and maintaininghealthy lifestyle habits.