CHARLOTTE — Many young people today struggle with a poor body image, and a new book by a local author re-examines the problem using St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and other Church teaching.
“Raising Kids with a Healthy Body Image: A Guide for Catholic Parents,” by Dr. John Acquaviva, an exercise science professor and St. Matthew Church member, aims to help young people develop a healthy body image.
“From a young age, our kids are under immense pressure from a variety of sources that can determine the value of their bodies,” explains Acquaviva. “But God has something to say about this as well. Pope John Paul II’s wonderful teaching known as Theology of the Body is the book’s guiding force, and along with Scripture and the Church’s sacraments, this book is an excellent parenting tool to guide your child so they see the worth of their bodies as designed by our Creator.
“In addition, this book discusses the numerous causes of a poor body image and includes chapters on how to instill fitness and sound nutrition into your family life,” he says.
Acquaviva, who holds a doctorate in exercise science, teaches courses including strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, exercise physiology, and weight loss, weight gain and body image at Wingate University. He also hosts “Faith & Fitness” on Radio Maria which airs on Mondays at 2 p.m. EST.Over the years, the Matthews resident has given hundreds of presentations to fitness professionals, church congregations, youth groups and campus ministries.
“After writing the first book, ‘Improving Your Body Image Through Catholic Teaching,’ I gave several presentations to churches, men’s and women’s groups, young adults, etc., to promote the book and its message,” Acquaviva says. “I often mentioned the follow-up book and discussed that its purpose was going to be a weapon for parents to combat the poor body image their young son or daughter may suffer from. Inevitably, they were more interested in the current book due to their age and position (many were parents).
Acquaviva says he purposely included the basics of Catholic teaching and sought to gently catechize the reader so they could pass it onto their children, besides all of the body image basics and statistics.
“I felt instinctively that Catholic readers would find it interesting as well as practical and helpful to their parenting responsibilities,” he says. “There are several books on body image and even ones that attempt to assist those with body image issues, but this book is the first attempt to heal poor body image through Scripture and the teachings of the Church.”
— SueAnn Howell, senior reporter
Order a copy
“Raising Kids with a Healthy Body Image: A Guide for Catholic Parents” by Dr. John Acquaviva, published by Enroute Books and Media, is available at www.enroutebooksandmedia.com and www.amazon.com.