With more pressure than ever to achieve body perfection, concern is growing about the impact this is having on young children.
Whilst unrealistic expectations have existed since the dawn of newspapers, magazines, television and advertising, the Internet has further accelerated these feelings and the outcome is very concerning.
Children are becoming anxious about their looks from the age of just eight and by the time they’re 14, 32% of girls and 16% of boys will feel moderately dissatisfied with some part of their body. Furthermore, a new study has revealed that the effects of this pressure starting at such a young age puts children at an increased risk of suffering from an eating disorder later on in life.
The media is one of the most commonly blamed sources for these issues but the researchers of the study highlighted that there are some less obvious, everyday situations that can lead to body insecurities. More and more schools are warning pupils about the harmful effects and health implications of being overweight and this could inadvertently prompt some to try to become unhealthily thin.
The lead author of the study, Dr Nadia Micali commented:
“Children in primary schools are being given health eating classes without even thinking what they might mean. Many of those classes have not been tested as scientists might test them.”
“My impression is that girls and boys are growing up faster every year almost. They are more mature and are faced with issues they probably shouldn’t be so early.”
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering with an eating disorder, please feel free to visit our Eating Disorder Treatment page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available. You can also contact us for help.