The poll of 2,500 13 – 19 year old girls revealed that comments from parents, attitudes of friends and media images of size zero celebrities have pushed 15 per cent of teenage girls to diet on a regular basis.
In addition to this, the poll revealed that this figure increased to more than double (35 per cent) for teenagers whose mothers worry about their own weight and are constantly trying out a new diet and calorie counting.
93 per cent of the teenage girls surveyed admitted to worrying about their weight with more than half saying their families commented on what they ate and a quarter saying they have friends with eating disorders.
Experts have warned that an obsessive concern about weight from an early age can raise the risk of developing an eating disorder such as anorexia and additionally extreme weight loss can interfere with puberty.
Tam Fry, of the Child Growth Foundation, believes it is inappropriate for children to diet and parents should be conscious of drawing as little attention to weight as possible.
‘Girls put on weight because of the biological consequences of puberty. But they should let nature take its course because 99 per cent will slim down in the end.’ He said.
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