Catherine Bach with her daughters, Sophia (left) and LauraThe National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) estimates that 50 percent of teenage girls and 33 percent of teenage boys will go to unhealthy measures to control their weight. They list such extremes as skipping meals, taking up smoking, or popping laxatives to attain the "ideal" body image.
This idea of the perfect body can be seen in many places: on TV, in magazines, online, in the movies. It can be perpetuated by dance teachers, bullies, advertisers, fashion designers, and even a child's own parents. Unfortunately for a child's self esteem, it's not reality for most kids: The ANAD states that this ideal body type is only possessed naturally by 5 percent of females in the United States.
And it would stand to reason that the obsession over attaining the "perfect" body would be much more common in places like Hollywood, where the streets are full of thin women with perfect figures. But one actress, who herself was a pin-up girl in the early '80s, is taking a stand against unhealthy body images when it comes to her two teenage daughters.
Catherine Bach, who played Daisy Duke in the Dukes of Hazzard, was a literal poster child for a sexy body. Her legs alone caused quite a stir: They were insured for $1 million, and her "uniform" of short shorts on the show sparked its own trend named after her character.
In the latest issue, Bach tells People Magazine, however, that she "wasn't skinny from dieting; [she] was an athlete." And she now expects the same from her daughters, Sophia, 16, and Laura, 13. Bach herself danced, swam, and hiked, and she and her girls regularly participate in yoga. Not only do sports promote a healthier body, studies have shown they aid in helping with mental and social health, as well. Science Daily reports that teens who participate in sports are generally "happier about life."
In November 2010, Bach interviewed Katherine Schwarzenegger (daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver) about her recent book, Rock What You've Got, raving about the message Schwarzenegger delivered: To love what you have inside and out, and don't let outside pressures weigh you down. A message Bach continues to teach to her own daughters.
In the book, Schwarzenegger gives personal anecdotes, inspiring advice, tips for parents, and more about loving yourself, in spite of what bullies or the media may tell you. It's a strong message from a young woman who has just been through the trials of teenagedom, and one Catherine Bach hopes all mothers and teenagers read and put into practice. Today, Bach can be seen on the long-running daytime soap, The Young and the Restless. And with age, has come some extra pounds. Her response, according to People Magazine: "I've put on a little weight, but so what?"
To learn more about Rock What You've Got, visit the Amazon.com page here. And for more information about eating disorders in teenagers and adults, please visit the ANAD Web site.
This post was written by Ryan Johnson.
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