Nowadays, beauty equals skinniness. Since a young age, we have constantly been exposed to images and messages that boost the idea that thinness is the key to become happy and successful. It is almost impossible for us to escape from mainstream media including magazines, TV ads, radio, and newspapers, which promote the concept that fat is a ‘sin’. This misleading concept is reaching the kids in subtle ways. When they reach adolescent stage, they feel discontented and “fatally flawed if their weight, hips, and breasts don’t match up to those of models and actors.” Moreover, even elementary kids find themselves dissatisfied with their weight. Below are some surprising statistics and facts about how obsessed our society is with the pursuit of skinniness under the media’s effect.
- In 1970 the average age a girl started dieting was fourteen; by 1990 the average age dropped to eight.
- One half of 4th grade girls are on a diet.
- While only one out of ten high school girls are overweight, nine out of ten high school juniors and seniors diet.
- 79% of teenage girls who vomit and 73% of teenage girls who use diet pills are frequent readers of women’s health and fitness magazines. This is in contrast to less than 43% of teenage girls who do not participate in these purging methods.
- 81% of ten year old girls are afraid of being fat.
- 42% of girls in first through third grades state they want to be thinner.
- A study found that adolescent girls were more fearful of gaining weight, than getting cancer, nuclear war or losing their parents.
- A University of Central Florida study of three to six year old girls found that nearly half were already worried about being fat.
- A study asked children to assign attractiveness values to pictures of children with various disabilities. The participants rated the obese child less attractive than a child in a wheelchair, a child with a facial deformity, and a child with a missing limb.
- In a Glamour magazine survey, 61% of respondents said they were ashamed of their hips, 64% were ashamed of their stomachs and 72% were ashamed of their thighs.
- A study found that on average, women have 13 negative body thoughts per day and that 97 percent of women in the study admitted to having at least one “I hate my body” moment daily.
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