(WEHT) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said he is working to raise awareness about the importance of mental health during the month of May, especially in school-aged children.

Research has shown that parents can impact a child’s body image. Healthy eating and exercise are important parts of raising a healthy child, but the way parents do it is key.

“One of the biggest things we need to be on the lookout for… We’re all aware of social media and the harm it can have to our children but new research is showing that even sutle things we say around the house such as the well-known phrase ‘does this make me look fat?’ can subconsciously and potentially permanently alter the way children see their own bodies,” said Jonathan Bailor, healthy living expert.

Bailor said it helps for parents to lead by example. If you want your children to eat better and be more active, do these activities with your children.

“The best way we can influence our children is by serving as an example. So if we want our children to eat more vegetables, we need to start with ourselves and eat more vegetables. If we want our children to be more active, the single greatest tool that we have in our arsenal is our own activity levels. Let’s start with ourselves and be amazed at what our children do as a result,” said Bailor.

“The key thing that we need to focus ourselves as well as our children on, though, is performance rather than appearance. So ‘how do you feel in these clothes?’ ‘How do these clothes make you feel?’ ‘How do you feel after you eat this food?’ By simply swapping out the word ‘feel’ for ‘look’ we can really transform our children’s relationships with their bodies and empower them for tremendous future success.”

Earlier this month, Governor Beshear signed House Bill 44 which gives students in the state the ability to take a mental health absence from school.