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Body image issues start scarily early

Last updated 15:46 01/07/2014
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SOMETHING'S WRONG: Children are worrying about their weight before they even hit a double digit birthday.

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Kids as young as eight are dissatisfied with their bodies, a study shows.

And the majority of 10- and 11-year-olds are trying to control their weight.

The report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) examined more than 4000 children around Australia at ages eight to nine and again at 10 to 11.

It found more than half of all the children they spoke to wanted a body size a bit thinner than the average, but younger kids were the most dissatisfied.

"Compared to 10- and 11-year-olds, a large number of eight to nine-year-old boys and girls were dissatisfied with their body size with many children wanting to be thinner than the average body size," said Ben Edwards, executive manager of AIFS' longitudinal study for Australian children.

But Dr Edwards said the "good news" in the research, was finding that as the children got older they were more accurate in gauging their right body size and more likely to be happy with it.

However, while the older children were more likely to be happier about their weight the majority of the older aged children had tried to manage their weight in the past 12 months.

The report said 61 per cent of boys had taken steps to control their weight in the past year, compared with 56 per cent of girls.

Dr Edwards said many boys were trying to add muscle mass, rather than decrease weight, unlike girls who were mostly concerned with losing weight.

- AAP

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