Approximately 80% of all 10-year-old girls have dieted at least once in their lives, according to new data. The same data shows that a tween girl’s number one wish isn’t a date with Justin Bieber – it’s to be thinner.
The data comes courtesy of the Keep It Real campaign, the goal of which is to improve body-image in young adults. Ads for the campaign also show that 53% of 13-year-old girls don’t like the way they look, and that percentage skyrockets to 78% by the time they turn 17. Between 40% and 60% of children between the ages of 6 and 12 are worried about their weight, and 70% want to be thinner. Research by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) confirms Keep It Real’s numbers, which were published in a study called “Eating Disorders Today — Not Just a Girl Thing,” by Kimberly Hepworth, according to NY Daily.
Courtney Hodrick of PolicyMic stated that “there are children in this country that probably should be trying to lose weight, but not this many. Not 80% of preteen girls,” in reaction to the study.
Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, agreed, saying that children suffering from eating disorders shockingly get “younger and younger,” as the years roll on. “I’ve seen a girl as young as 8 years old on a feeding tube,” she said. “It’s a serious problem.”
So who’s to blame? According to Keep it Real, a collaboration between Miss Representation, the SPARK Movement, Love Social, Endangered Bodies and I Am That Girl, it’s a mixed-hat of the wider popular media. Both magazines and home environment play a significant role.
“It starts in the home. Magazines are lying around family’s houses … and at newsstands and check-out counters,” said Amy Zucchero, Miss Representation’s campaign director. “You can’t go to the grocery store without seeing an altered picture of a woman.”
What do you say? Is the study alarming? Obesity is a problem in America, sure, but what about our obsession with image that uncomfortably tilts the “health” boat in the wrong direction way too often?