November 18, 2013 by Castlewood Treatment Center in Body Image Many people are of the opinion that they can say anything in front of children or to children without any consequences. When it comes to weight, adults may openly criticize a child's weight, labeling them as lazy or unhappy if they are overweight, or too small and skinny if they are thin. Children are surrounded every day by weight stigma, which can lead to long-term problems.
Weight Bias Leads to Eating Disorders and Self Loathing
Some people may wonder what is so wrong with weight bias. The answer can be found in the number of children and young adults who are dealing with self-loathing, self-harm behaviors, and eating disorders. Studies show that children as young as first grade are now overly concerned about their weight. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner, 81% of 10-year olds are afraid of being fat, and 46% of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets.
Young people today feel a great deal of pressure to have a body that society would describe as perfect. They have learned through the weight stigma of the world that being overweight is synonymous with being lazy, unmotivated, and unhappy. When these children see themselves as fat, it is not just a weight thing, because they also begin to believe that they are lazy, unmotivated, and unhappy.
Because of this, there are many young people taking unhealthy steps to become thin. Kids are starving themselves, exercising at dangerous levels, cutting themselves, hating themselves and wanting to take their own lives.
It is possible for our society to put an end to weight bias and to heal the body image issue we've created among our young people. We need to stop assessing others' weights and judging them for it. We need to instill positive self-esteem in our children and help them realize there is more to a person than their weight.