In a surprising report from The Guardian, a third of young girls surveyed listed body issues as one of their top concerns, leading these kids to start an interplay with diets and eating disorders by age 10.
In fact, another survey from the Press Association highlighted that a number of these survey takers were well-aware of weight-loss methods such as using laxatives, bulimia, and anorexia.
“So much is affected by how you feel about your body — your ability to enjoy life, form good relationships and make the most of opportunities,” explained education consultant Chris Calland to the Guardian. “But all the indicators are that the current population of young people have lower body confidence than ever before – and that’s borne out by the rising numbers of youngsters with eating disorders and serious anxieties about their appearance.”
“Traditionally girls have always shown greater concern about their weight and appearance,” she also added. “But the research shows boys are also worrying. They want to be tall and, when they’re a bit older, to be muscular – and they worry about weight too.”
Other than being critical of themselves, kids may also be subjected to bullying, something that aggravates their plummeting self-image. The course Calland teaches focuses on developing a child’s inner confidence and educating them about advertising and media distortion.
“Children may already be being bullied or teased, and by emphasizing children’s inner qualities, they are likely to be helped by realizing that it’s who they are inside that counts,” Calland added as a resolution.
As for the current anti-obesity campaigns, Calland explains that these may do more harm than good.
“Some children have absorbed the anti-obesity message to such an extent that they dread gaining weight,” she stated. “So we’re giving children part of the picture, but we’re not giving them the whole picture: we’re neglecting the wider landscape and that’s really not fair to the children.”