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Positive Role Model

When children and teens see adults making healthy choices, they are more likely to model those actions. Parents/caregivers, teachers and other school staff are important role models in children’s lives.1 By making healthy eating choices, enjoying regular physical activity, and promoting a healthy body image, parents and caregivers can be positive role models for children.


What is a Positive Role Model?

A positive role model will help children and youth learn to enjoy healthy eating, regular physical activity, and help them learn to accept and feel good about themselves. A positive role model can talk about their eating and physical activity choices, as well as their body in a positive way.

A positive role model is someone who enjoys:

  • cooking meals more often
  • eating meals with family and friends
  • a variety of food
  • nutritious foods like vegetables and fruit, protein foods and whole grains and limits processed foods
  • regular physical activity

Are you a positive role model?

Role Model

Are you a Positive Role Model?

Children and youth are always watching and listening to what adults are doing and saying. Your own beliefs and attitudes about eating, activity, and body size, can influence how they feel about their body and their eating and activity habits. Ask yourself, do you practice the same healthy eating, physical activity and body image messages that you are conveying to children and teens?

How to be a Positive Role Model?

Be a positive role model by being aware of what you say and do in front of children and youth. Focus on making healthy food choices, being active and being positive about your body.

Use some of the ideas below to be a positive role model for children and teens.

Healthy Eating

  • Refer to foods as “everyday” foods from the food guide and “sometimes” foods. Try to avoid referring to foods as “good” or “healthy” foods and “bad” or “unhealthy” foods.
  • Enjoy water as your beverage of choice. White milk and unsweetened fortified plant-based beverages are also nutritious choices.
  • Eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day and avoid skipping meals.
  • Eat a variety of foods from Canada’s Food Guide, including vegetables and fruit, protein foods and whole grains.
  • Include foods not in the food guide (“sometimes” foods) occasionally. Enjoy eating these foods without any guilt!

Physical Activity

  • Talk to children about activities that you enjoy and how they make you feel. Ask children which activities they enjoy.
  • Join children in physical activity, so that they can see you having fun and being active.
  • Follow the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines.

Body Image

  • Compliment people on their personality and good traits. Avoid complimenting people on their physical appearance.
  • Give positive feedback to children about things other than their appearance, like their school marks, manners or friendships.
  • Avoid talking about dieting or weight loss in front of or with children and youth. 1
Date of creation: January 21, 2013
Last modified on: October 23, 2019


1Fredriksen, K., & Rhodes, J. (2004). The role of teacher relationships in the lives of students. New Directions for Youth Development, 2004 (103), 45-54.