In a recent heartbreaking story on ABCNews.com, Taylor Call, a 6-year-old girl who hasn’t even entered elementary school yet, discusses how people think she is fat and how she has been questioning her own weight. Taylor’s doctor explains in the article that she is normal weight and doesn’t have a risk for being overweight right now. It seems like the only problem is that the perception of her weight doesn’t line up with what the medical community says is normal.
Adolescent girls and college women are often talked about in studies and the news relating to the common struggle among them with body image, weight and eating disorders. It seems as though this ‘trend’ is affecting girls and women of all ages these days and is getting more and more serious. The number of girls under 12 who were hospitalized due to an eating disorder has nearly doubled since 2000 and 2006, according to the article’s information from the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA).
In the article, a study was also cited which was conducted by the University of Central Florida among 3-6 year olds. It was reported that nearly half worried about being fat.
So, what’s the problem? Is it the media? Is it our peers? Is it our families? Is there something in the water?
The culmination of many factors leads to this epidemic that girls, even 3-year-old girls, think they are fat, when they really aren’t and they are reinforcing each other’s behavior to continue this ‘trend.’
What can we do? What can we say? What do you think is causing this epidemic?
I encourage you to visit the NEDA website if you or someone you know is dealing with an eating disorder and body image issues. It’s also a great resource if you are interested in this particular topic. We as women have the chance to support each other and reinforce positive behavior. A kind compliment and a bit of encouragement could save someone a lot of grief, pain and hopelessness when dealing with eating disorders and body image issues. Each one of us has the power to make a difference.