Washington DC: The influence of Asian parents on their growing children's body dissatisfaction levels and disordered eating has revealed significant differences when compared with their Western counterparts, leading to calls for a tailored approach to treatment.
According to a study, negative comments made by mothers had more impact on their children's self-image regardless of gender, in a culture where fathers are more authoritative and mothers more nurturing than in the West.
This differs from Western studies in which comments made by mothers were more likely to influence daughters and fathers had more impact on sons.
It comes against a backdrop of growing numbers of children developing eating disorders in the island nation, with figures now on a par with the UK.
Although most prevalent in girls, a growing number of boys are being diagnosed with eating disorders. Currently, the Western approach to treatment is adopted in Singapore and across Asia. However, researchers argue that cultural differences mean that a more tailored approach is needed to educate parents and to treat young Asian people effectively.
The research team assessed questionnaire responses from 383 young adults, of whom 69 per cent were female. They looked at the impact of parental comments in relation to body weight, shape and eating habits.