New Statistics Say Girls As Young As 6 Want To Be Thinner

In light of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, the National Eating Disorders Association released statistics on Monday that show just how young children are when body image issues begin to develop.

Girls as young as 6 years old report a desire to be skinny, with 42 percent of first through third grade females wanting to be thinner than they are.

“To be honest, I was a little surprised,” said Kimble Richardson, a licensed mental health counselor from St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital. “Even mental health professionals need to be made aware that this is a trend, not in the right direction.”

Disturbing statistics

Among other disturbing statistics, 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat, and hospitalizations for eating disorder-related complications are up 119 percent for children under 12 in the past 10 years.

“That’s the most disturbing statistic to me,” Richardson said of the hospitalizations. “Because you have to get in a pretty bad way to be hospitalized for that issue.”

Richardson notes that body image issues start with the parents, and that, while children may not realize they are idealizing unhealthy standards for body perfection, the messages are “insidious” and can infiltrate a child’s life in “covert” ways.

“Kids do copy their idols, and if a parent has an issue with their own self-esteem, with their own body image, that’s tough to hide,” Richardson said. “And kids are smart, and they pick up on that. And again, it’s an unspoken, sometimes unspoken message.”

Source: RTV6, The Indy Channel

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 © 2008-2019
Company Information

© 2019 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.