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telegraph.co.uk
Children as young as three have body image issues while four years olds know how to lose weight, study finds
Children as young as three have body image issues and some four-year-olds know how to go on a diet, a survey by childcare professionals has found.

Dr Harding said there was “mounting concern” about why children were forming the views. “More research is needed in this area but contributing factors are likely to include: images on TV; images in story books and animations and the general chat by adults about their bodies, dieting and cosmetic surgery,“ she added.

The research, which had a limited sample size of 361 people, also found that nearly a quarter of healthcare professionals surveyed had "seen signs” children aged between three and five were “unhappy with their appearance or bodies”. This figure almost doubled to nearly half of six- to 10-year-olds.

Around one in five children has also rejected food because “it will make them fat”, according to the study.

The bolded, I see this as a teacher quite frequently. Student’s, who lack a general understanding of nutrition and how calories, exercise and weight gain actually works, still generally believe that they must do certain things to avoid becoming fat or make themselves skinny. 

As a teacher, it baffles me the misconceptions students have about food. Some will look at their snacks, see that there are calories involved and ask me if it’s bad for them. It could have 5 calories but the presence of the word “calories” is enough to convince them that it is bad for them.

 Unhealthy and irresponsible weight loss discussions are so pervasive in our country that young children internalize them before they develop the ability to think through them. 

This is how these harmful beliefs are perpetuated and thrive. We learn weigh loss language while we are still learning phonics. It’s an invisible curriculum that sets the foundation of our body image years and decades later.

And I wonder why it takes it takes so long to unlearn messed up relationships with fitness, food and eating.