Monday, February 8, 2010

Children on diets  

By: Kaity - from the series of guest posts written by Dr. Baldwin's students at Michigan State University.

The other day I was at a family party, and while helping with the desserts, I asked my ten-year-old cousin if she would like some cake and ice-cream. Her response? “No thank you I can’t, I’m on a diet.” I was so caught off guard by what she had just said to me! When I asked her why she was on a diet, she said she needed to lose weight because she was fat. Now we all know that as we grow, some children have a bit of a belly. But it was NEVER considered fat, just that the child was still growing into their body. It was never a concern to anyone, especially the child.

How early in life is media now infesting the minds of children of our nation? Extreme dieting, anorexia and bulimia were typically observed by young women who entered the stressful world of high school. Keeping up with unnaturally skinny models and movie stars is hard on these young women who want to be skinny, beautiful, and accepted. Nowadays though, does this really only apply to young adult women? Or are the stressors of wanting to be skinny effecting children as young as ten? Girls this young shouldn’t be concerned with the way they look. Their only concern should be which type of cereal would be more fun to eat, not the amount of calories they are consuming.

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3 comments: to “ Children on diets

  • February 11, 2010 at 12:52 PM  

    I agree with your post completely! It's awful that kids are developing insecurity about their bodies at such a young age. My cousin is about the same age and is the same way too. I've noticed that pressure for her also comes from her parents, seeing her mother (my aunt) tells her to limit what she eats. She does have the belly going BUT that's something that will even out once she gets a little older.

    Girls this young should still have it a bit on the easy side, with less concerns. I feel like if girls this young are already stressing about weight issues, there are, sadly, high hopes of them developing an eating disorder later on in their teenage years. Especially with young kids, being so active as they are, restricting food intake can be highly dangerous.

  • February 16, 2010 at 3:37 PM  

    Being a babysitter for he same girl since she was 5 to 12, I have had the opportunity to see how early pressure is being put on her. This girl is extremely skinny and is very active in cross country running. She was told by her friend to have carrot cake at her birthday party because it less calories than chocolate cake. Also,less calories would mkae them skinny and prettier. It's her birthday, so let her decide! Plus, why should either girls be concerned about calories at this age? These ideas come from what kids read and see in the media. I agree that the kids should not have to worry about these things at their age.

    The girl I babysit for has even asked her mom not to put any sweets or salty snacks in her lunch because she would get made fun of at school. She said that it would make her look fat.It is terrible that any girls feel the need to watch their weight and foods at such an early age. If there was a serious weight problem, you would expect the parents to monitor that and not put the kids under that sort of pressure.

  • March 28, 2010 at 4:09 PM  

    Wow. That was probably rough to witness! A 10 year old on a diet... I think that a lot of a child's self image has to do with his/her parents. My mom always told me (and still tells me) that I look beautiful. I know a couple of my friend's mom's tell them that maybe they should go running or eat better foods (when they are clearly healthy). Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I definitely think that such comments can contribute to a girl's self esteem.