Children As Young As 3 Aware Of Body Image, Australian Study Finds

In what is potentially the largest study of its kind in the world, researchers from La Trobe University in Melbourne found that children as young as three years old can recognize different body images – and that this awareness comes with early discrimination about what is considered good or bad when it comes to body shape.

The Children’s Body Image Development Study found that 38 percent of boys and 30 percent of girls between the ages of three and eight expressed desire to be a different body shape. Most children want to be bigger, the study found, while few kids acknowledged that weight loss was a possible concept.

Gender roles still a factor

The study found that boys are more influenced by their father’s attitudes when it comes to body image than girls are influenced by their mothers’ attitudes.

According to Dr. Stephanie Damiano, from the School of Psychological Science, the next step will be for researchers to analyze how childrens’ friends influence their own body image thoughts and feelings, as well as how the media contributes to this internal dialogue.

“It’s not just about eating disorders, it’s really about body acceptance,” Damiano told the Herald Sun. “We’re hoping this will help us understand more about what’s influencing children’s attitudes and when that’s occurring, so we can develop some sort of prevention so they don’t get dissatisfied with their body.”

Source: Herald Sun

Image via tiverylucky

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2017
Company Information

© 2017 All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.