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At 10-Years-Old, Children are Already Worried about their Weight

Update Date: Jul 08, 2013 03:29 PM EDT

Weight is a huge problem for a lot of adults and children who are either overweight or obese. Not only does weight affect physical health, it can also hurt mental health due to bullying and self-esteem issues. With media and clothing placing huge emphasis on body image and weight, more and more children are becoming vulnerable to developing poor relationships with food, which could lead to eating disorders. In a new study from the United Kingdom, researchers found that children are aware of their own weight as early as 10-years-old.

The study was conducted by the Schools Health Education Unit (SHEU). SHEU administered a questionnaire about eating habits, body image issues, weight, and other factors to over 68,000 adolescents and teenagers between the ages of 10 and 15. The researchers found that children as young as 10 were conscious of their body image with 37 percent of girls stating that they wanted to be slimmer. For girls between the ages of 12 and 13, the percentage rose to 54. Girls in the last age group of 14-15 had the highest rate with 63 percent of them who wanted to lose weight.

The researchers also discovered that a lot of them chose to skip breakfast. In the oldest age group, 17 percent of them did not eat breakfast. For boys in the same age group of 14-15, 11 percent of them did not have breakfast. The researchers noted that boys were generally less worried about weight than girls were. Boys also ate more snacks per week as the researchers recorded 23 percent of boys 14-15-years-old and 24 percent of boys 12-13-years-old eating chips and roasted potatoes.   

"These are very worrying findings - all pupils, whatever their age, need to start the day with breakfast if they're going to be able to focus in class, and research shows a clear link between eating breakfast and children's attainment at school, "Laura Sharp, a nutritionist for the Children's Food Trust, said reported by Daily Mail. "What's particularly worrying is that girls and boys are skipping meals at a time when their bodies are changing fast and they're particularly in need of good nourishment."

When it came to meals, the majority of the sample set stated that school meals were the most popular, followed by packed lunch. Even though packed lunches were also a favorite, the researchers found that 19 percent of girls aged 14-15 and 14 percent of girls aged 12-13 did not have lunch. On top of these findings, the researchers also noted that consumption of fruits and vegetables lowered as one aged. For the youngest group, 61 percent of them stated that they ate fruits and vegetables daily. By 14-15-years-old, the rate dropped to 36 percent.

"It's food for thought for schools on the need to get creative with menus and the way we market food to young people at this age, to make sure they're getting the nutrition they need at this influential time in their development," Sharp added.

The importance is to maintain a good weight by eating healthily.  

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