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Cameron Diaz and Maria Shriver discuss body image, diet and exercise

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Cameron Diaz and Maria Shriver said mothers have a huge impact on their daughters' body image, the Today Show reported Feb. 26.

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Cameron made the comments in a panel discussion involving mothers and daughters in a news segment hosted by Shriver, an NBC News contributor.

The discussion came shortly after a body-image survey conducted by Today/AOL revealed that 57 percent of moms worry about how their body image affects their children. Meanwhile, 45 percent of women (ages 16 to 21) said their mothers' body image affected how they felt about their own bodies.

Shriver commended her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, for setting a good example, but said she rarely discussed nutrition at home.

“My mom stressed mental health and physical health, and she was really adamant," said Maria, 58, author of Ten Things I Wish I'd Known. "She came out of the women’s movement, to not focus on your looks but to focus on your brain."

Shriver, who has two daughters, said healthy eating has become a popular discussion in the media only during the past 15 years, so today's younger generation is actually a lot more savvy about nutrition, diet and exercise than their mothers and grandmothers were.

“So many of our daughters are actually educating us about what’s good for us, like kale,” Maria said. “I had never heard of kale, or quinoa or any of these things until recently. I was on the Twinkie bandwagon.”

Diaz, 41, agreed, saying she grew up on a diet of sodas, fried foods, and daily bean burritos topped with extra cheese. While Cameron is hailed her for athletic beauty, she had terrible acne as a teen because of her unhealthy diet.

“I literally had 50 cystic acnes all over my face,” said Cameron. "I'm not exaggerating. You come to the place of starting to think, ‘What is this really doing? If it's doing that to my face, what is it doing to my innards?’”

Diaz, author of The Body Book, said she wrote her fitness book to encourage women to take care of their health without focusing obsessively on appearance or weight.

“The knowledge of your body and how it works on a cellular level, and understanding what that truly means, is the best thing that a mother can understand, not just for herself, but so she can pass on to her daughter," said Cameron.

Diaz recently shared her workout, diet and beauty secrets on the Jan. 15 episode of the Dr. Oz Show. Cameron said if you eat well and exercise regularly, you can look and feel better even as you age. "I like the way I look now better than when I was 25," said Diaz. "I'm okay with getting older. I like it."

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