80 Percent Ages 10 Diet, Youth Eating Disorders Rise

Recent data shows that 80 percent of all 10-year-olds have been on a diet as the ‘Keep It Real’ campaign tries to stop magazines from airbrushing models since youth eating disorders are on the rise, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

The campaign, which aims to improve body-image issues in young adults , drew the staggering statistic from a study by Kimberly Hepworth, titled “Eating Disorders Today — Not Just a Girl Thing.”

Ads for Keep It Real also state that 53 percent of 13-year-old girls have issues with how their bodies look, a percentage that rises to 78 percent when girls turn 17.

Research by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) confirms Keep It Real’s numbers.

Between 40 to 60 percent of children age 6 to 12 are worried about how much they weigh, and 70 percent would like to slim down.

Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, says that children suffering from eating disorders keep getting “younger and younger.”

“I’ve seen a girl as young as 8 years old on a feeding tube, Grefe told CBS Seattle. “It’s a serious problem.”

A Vogue writer faced widespread criticism in March after she detailed her struggle with her overweight 7-year-old in the fashion magazine.

Dara-Lynn Weiss went on a year-long mission to help her daughter lose weight after a doctor pronounced the child “obese” at 4 feet 4 inches and 93 pounds.

The Keep it Real Campaign, a collaboration between Miss Representation, the SPARK Movement, Love Social, Endangered Bodies and I Am That Girl believes that both magazines and home environment are to blame.

“It starts in the home. Magazines are lying around family’s houses … and at newsstands and check-out counters,” Amy Zucchero, campaign director for Miss Representation, told CBS. “You can’t go to the grocery store without seeing an altered picture of a woman.”

The recent studies and reports about children and teen eating disorders are disturbing. The results indicated that eating disorders were not only a female problem but are rapidly also becoming a male problem and a minority issue. Experts suggest that parents need to be diligent in recognizing the problem in their children early.

While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight, they are most often about much more than food. The National Eating Disorders Association acknowledges there may be a difference of opinion among experts and the literature on the subject may vary.

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