Stop Dietainment from Reaching our Girls

It’s something that hides {yet not very well} in TV commercials, ads, brand messaging and in magazine articles. Search an Instagram or Twitter hashtag and it’s there too. It’s even lurking in your Facebook newsfeed, and I deeply apologize if it comes up as an ad on this very blog {I do put an immediate stop to them if I notice, by the way}. 

I’m talking about Dietainment.

Dietainment is unhealthy body image messages disguised as harmless entertainment – and it needs to be stopped. 

stop dietainment

These messages, such as a ‘10 simple workouts to a hot celebrity body’ headline on a magazine cover, are at all checkouts which anyone has no choice but to stand and stare at for periods of time. These are the messages that are having a serious impact on kids across Canada. Your kids, and my own. It’s a selling-trick which negatively makes a mark on young minds – altering how they view themselves and how/what they are supposed to be as they grow. 

Thing is, it’s everywhere! I’m always conscious of the ‘diet’ word, and find myself constantly distracting my daughters from any mention of it. Especially my oldest daughter who just started Junior High, a time when young kids are the most critical of themselves.


I’ve even gone so far as point out the window and yell, ‘Hey look – squirrel!’ just to get their eyes and ears off a ‘get skinny quick with these pills‘ ad on TV. I keep any magazines of all sorts in my bedroom and away from common areas of the house, since there isn’t one out there that doesn’t have some sort of body-bashing message. Also, Halloween just passed and we all seen the insane costuming for girls available these days – apparently a costume isn’t cool unless it’s revealing. Even for 7 year olds.

Stop Dietainment from Reaching our Girls!

The Multi-Grain Cheerios team launched a campaign to draw attention to Dietainment and get a better understanding of how this content impacts our kids. They asked young Canadian girls how Dietainment makes them feel and what message it sends them.

What they discovered was deeply troubling as these children were left feeling even more pressure to live up to society’s version of ‘perfect’ when it comes to body image. Their findings can be found on a series of videos like the one I share below.

Watch one of their videos and visit, as this is something parents need to see …

After their research, Cheerios committed themselves to educate, and create a movement to put an end to Dietainment. They are doing so with with television and online ads with hopes on educating parents and getting people talking about the issue.

Through those efforts, more than 16,000 Canadians showed their support by signing an online petition to drive change within the Canadian media industry.

I signed the Petition to Stop Dietainment

In sharing this initiative I hope you, my readers, become more aware of Dietainment. Catch it in the commercials as you watch TV tonight. Spot the messages as you wait in line at the store, as you will be literally surrounded by it. Also, take a look at your childs face as she stands there reading these headlines as well – because they are and they have been exposed to this their whole lives.

It’s time to put an end to Dietainment – who’s with me?




Disclosure: This is a compensated post on behalf of Cheerios, yet all opinions are my ABSOLUTELY my own.




  1. I don’t think it;s fair to always be flaunting size zero models in our faces. It’s not realistic.

  2. I think this is such an important article. There are so many things out there that can really undermine a girl’s self-confidence.

  3. I have never heard this word before, but I love it! There is SO much out there especially for girls to try to compete to look the best. My niece is one of these and suffers for anorexia and I hate it because he is beautiful! Thank you for this post.

  4. My girls are at the age now they are always talking about different sizes, shapes and people. I’ve been having to chat with them about being a size 0 and how it isn’t how everyone is built etc. So I completely agree with this!

  5. I completely agree with this post! I think it needs to be stopped. This is so extremely important. Kids should be able to be happy with who they are.

  6. This is so true. I’ve been seeing this all over. I think health is important but those unrealistic standards and claims are crazy.

  7. Such a great word. Never heard of the word but I do understand the meaning of the word. It is so important that we stop body shamming and be more accepting. Great message.

  8. My daughter just got done writing a research paper on the effects of advertising effect women’s body image in a negative way. Dietainment is real, and many don’t realize it.

  9. We need to promote healthy body images in young girls! We don’t want them to spend their lives trying to live up to an impossible ideal instead of being comfortable in their own skin!

  10. I have been seeing this a lot lately. It is terrible that kids are being bombarded with advertising that is telling them they are not good enough.

  11. wow this campaign is amazing. i absolutely love it. i wish we had something like this when i was growing up. will def pass along to others.

  12. I have seen a lot of Dietainment lately. It is everywhere for kids to see. We need to stop this and teach kids they are beautiful no matter what.

  13. You are so right. Media messages today continue to promote an unhealthy attitude towards girls. We’ve all got to do more to let advertisers know that the ads that resonate with us are the ones that we and our kids can actually relate to not some fantasy perfect person that doesn’t yet.

  14. I’m with you! This is a hard one…. on one hand I want the girls to be healthy and fit and eat well and have their health matter. But I cringed when my 16 year old recently asked for a fitness book she saw online. She’s so healthy now! She eats healthy food, is very active, and should have no reason to be body conscious. My oldest 2 also have some body image issues and although they don’t have as much of an “athletic” builds as my 16 year old does…. they also have different interests and are healthy, normal gorgeous girls! It’s ridiculous the standards that are set in media. The women that are marketed are not the social norms.

  15. My daughter is almost 18 and she and I have discussions all the time about what the world says we are to look like and what WE really are okay with looking like. This is such an important message to share.

  16. I signed the Petition to Stop Dietainment too. It’s horrible to think that our children are being inundated with adverts for diet pills, size 0 bodies being the only beautiful ones, ridiculous. It’s an industry that wants to make money selling pills that seemingly don’t work miracles anyway. This whole image thing can lead to many illnesses that can be devastating and all to fulfill the industry’s ridiculous idea of what a woman’s body shape should be. Few are a size 0, it’s not the norm and as far as I’ve seen only Dove has picked up on this are there other firms doing the same?

  17. This stuff has definitely got to stop, the last thing I want my children growing up seeing is these unrealistic messages that not only do girls absorb and think they need to look that certain way that is not realistic, it also teaches boys that this is how a women should look.

  18. My daughter often remarks that her tummy should be flatter – she is 7. She is not hearing that at home so I am assuming the media has had its’ influence. She is a tall skinny kid so it is quite the distorted thinking she has developed.

  19. I like this campaign. My daughter is built like her father, and I worry about her self-esteem being damaged by advertising and negative messages.

  20. I think this is beyond important, health is so much important than the perfect little body.

  21. It’s everywhere! Luckily, my girls are comfortable in their own skin, and don’t pay attention to these messages.

  22. I don’t really care what size I’m in as being healthy is not about sizing. I do think it’s not realistic to have edited media articles pushed out there for everyone to feel that they’re lacking somehow. I know I felt bad enough as a kid, seeing the professional finished projects of my classmates. It was only recently I learned from a friend that an adult had done it for their kids so, they can get a good mark. But, that always made me feel I lacked the skills and my efforts were not up to par. So, definitely, the trend in body image pushed by the media is not healthy.

  23. I watched a modeling show with my granddaughter and she was upset when she seen the models,with drained faces and skin pulled over bones and thought it was discusting and so do i,these girls dont even look pretty to me they just look unhappy with their forced smiles

  24. It’s not realistic that we all be shaped as models,i overheard some teens talking the other day when i was ut shopping about the Baby food diet they are on…..sad

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