Body image affects kids as young as five

An inquiry by MP’s has found that more than half of the British public has a negative body image, and that children as young as five are worries about their size, shape and appearance.

by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 30th May 2012

The three month public inquiry findings have been published in a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).  Titled ‘Reflections on Body Image’, the report was co-authored by MPs and health and education charity Central YMCA.  Their findings suggest that young children pick up on their parents ‘body related anxieties’.  Negative body image was seen as an underlying cause of health and relationship problems, a key contributor to low self-esteem and a major barrier to participation in school and progression at work

On the increase

The inquiry found evidence from those consulted that unhappiness with body image is on the increase across the board, affecting ‘all of society’, regardless of their age, gender, social status, ethnicity or disability.  It was identified, however, that children are the most vulnerable to concerns about their body image, with parents being recognised as an influencing factor in younger children, with peers exerting more influence on older children and teenagers.

Young children

The report states that around half of girls and up to one third of boys have dieted to lose weight and children and young people with body image dissatisfaction were less likely to engage in learning and participation in school.

Further information and support

For more information and support about body image and children, see Web MD – Building a healthy body image in children where you will find more information on how to recognise signs of negative body image and how to offer support.

Source:  Press Association, Five year olds now worry about size, 30th May 2012

Photo: Rolfekolbe@ Flickr

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