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Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds

It’s important for everyone to have a healthy body and a healthy mind. The health of our minds and bodies are connected. If we ignore either one, it can affect our overall health. To learn more about having a healthy body and healthy mind, see the resources below:

Parents and caregivers can show children and teens how to have a healthy body and healthy mind. A Tool for Parenting Children and A Tool for Parenting Teens offer tips on how to role model healthy behaviours for children and teens. If you work with Children and Youth, see our Tool for working with Children and Teens for tips and ideas.

Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations where comments are made about bodies and behaviours. These comments can affect how we feel about ourselves. Even when trying to compliment it can still have an unintended negative effect. The following resource has tips on how to keep the focus positive and healthy:

Weight bias refers to the negative attitudes, beliefs, assumptions and judgements towards individuals based on their weight, shape, or size. This can lead to prejudice, stigma and discrimination in interpersonal interactions, media, healthcare, education and workplace settings. Ontario Dietitians in Public Health (ODPH) developed the following resource on weight bias.

As role models, we can implement the “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds” approach in the following ways:

  • Focus on protective factors in children, which include: Having a positive body image and high self-esteem
  • Having strong social support systems (e.g., family, teachers, other adult influencers)
  • Feeling a sense of belonging within their culture
  • Role model healthy living behaviours where you live, learn, work and play: Reflect on your own beliefs and attitudes about health, such as body size, eating, activity and how you feel about yourself
  • Set a good example by limiting your own screen time, including cell phone, computer/tablet and television
  • Let children see you enjoying physical activity and engaging in healthy eating behaviours for overall health
  • Demonstrate a positive body image by avoiding discussions about your own or others’ body size, diet and/or weight. Instead, make positive comments about your own and others’ personality traits, skills, abilities and accomplishments
  • Focus on Teaching: Shift the focus away from ‘body weight’; teach kids that healthy bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes
  • Focus on the fun and social aspect of being physically active, and less on the winning
  • Encourage kids to try new challenging activities that develop their body, skills and confidence
  • Teach kids to eat a variety of healthy foods each day and enjoy “treats” in moderation. Encourage kids to listen to their bodies’ hunger and fullness cues