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Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
It’s well known that many Americans, especially women, dislike their bodies. Much of the blame for this problem is placed on the media for airbrushing models and celebrities into unrealistic, typically unattainable beauties — and on society for glorifying these retouched versions of people.
We usually assume that the battle with negative self-image begins when adolescents hit puberty, but a new report from Common Sense Media suggests that these issues are beginning even earlier than that. Although the report is not comprehensive, information was compiled from numerous body image studies to determine what influences a child’s attitudes and behaviors, and at what age.
Researchers discovered that children begin to express concerns about their bodies as young as age 5. And at this young age, parents usually play a role in influencing their kids — as Common Sense Media notes, “you are your child’s first teacher,” meaning that kids can still pick up on subtle but negative body image message you give (even if you’re not harshly criticizing your body).
Even though body image research is often focused on girls, boys are influenced, too. According to the report, one-third of boys (and more than half of girls) between the ages of 6 and 8 believe an ideal body is thinner than their current body size. And 1 in 4 kids have already tried dieting by age 7. And get this—while a Barbie-like physique is knowingly unattainable, the measurements of male action figures surpass the measurements of even the largest bodybuilders!
To counteract the negative body image, Common Sense suggests that you talk openly about appreciating your body, steer clear of commenting on others’ appearances, and participate in healthy habits for your well-being (and not just to look better in the dress you’re wearing soon!).
“A lot of the negative body image comes from internal views of oneself, and when you can really shift that conversation from how someone looks to how someone feels, then kids can really start to think about what their choices are, and how they have control over how they feel, and that brings positive self-esteem and self-awareness,” says Seeta Pai, vice president of research for Common Sense Media and author of the report.
Also: Read these tips on how to talk to your kids about body image.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Girl looking in mirror via Shutterstock
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body awareness, body fat, body image, common sense media, Kids, new research, new study, research, self-esteem, study | Categories:
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Monday, December 24th, 2012
“Bears are my number one fear.” “I’m a Muslim, not a terrorist.” “Break down my walls. Discover me.” These are just some of the six-word “memoirs” published in an inspiring–and surprising–new book “Things Don’t Have to Be Complicated: Illustrated Six-Word Memoirs by Students Making Sense of the World.
Click here to view a slideshow of some of the more remarkable entries from the book on The Washington Post’s website.
Image ccourtesy smithmag.net
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Thursday, July 7th, 2011
An annual report compiled by statistics collected by a set of federal agencies has revealed new information about children and teenagers in the US, tracking issues from teen pregnancy to drug use to poverty.
The report, America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2011, is the 15th in an ongoing annual series of such reports. This year, the major findings included a series of positive indicators including, for the second year in a row, a drop in the pregnancy rate among adolescents, to 20.1 babies per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17.
Another encouraging finding was a decline in injury deaths among teenagers, including driving deaths, from 44 per 100,000 teens in 2008 to 39 per 100,000 in 2009. Binge drinking among 12th graders also dropped from 25 percent in 2009 to 23 percent in 2010.
Other findings point in a less positive direction. The proportion of eighth-graders who had used drugs in the past 30 days rose from 8 percent in 2009 to 10 percent last year. And children were also more likely to live below the poverty line–21 percent in 2009 compared to 19 percent in 2008. Children are also more likely to live with unemployed parents, and to live in crowded or physically inadequate housing.
“This report documents some significant changes in several key areas,” Edward Sondik, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics told CNN.com. “This annual report is an important tool to monitor the well being of our nation’s children,” said Sondik. “Each area we report on is critical to our youth”
Other researchers say the report has political ramifications.
Dr. Steven E. Lipshultz, chairman of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, told HealthDay that, “while not earth-shattering,” the report is important because it can guide policies that affect children.
Lipshultz is particularity concerned that programs that benefit children’s health and well-being are being cut during the ongoing anemic economic recovery.
“There is so much political rhetoric that gets bantered about that without a scorecard it’s hard to sort out what the real facts are,” Lipshultz said. “And kids don’t vote, and so they are not necessarily a constituency that is a high priority among policy makers.
“If we are going to take limited resources and we are going to work to have the next generation healthier than the current one, the same old solutions may need to be modified,” he added.
(image via: http://rogerfields.com/)
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Friday, June 10th, 2011
A study published in the journal Science has found that kids who attend preschool are less likely to commit crimes or become addicted to drugs and alcohol as adults. Preschool-educated kids are also likely to grow up to have higher education and income levels than non-preschool-attending peers.
The study, which was conducted in low-income neighborhoods in Chicago, followed 1,539 children, mostly African American, born in 1979-80. Nine hundred of the families sent their 3-4-year-old kids to the Chicago’s federally-funded Child-Parent Center Education Program, and the rest attended full-day kindergarten but no preschool.
Time magazine reported on the study:
After tracking the children to age 28, researchers found that those who had attended preschool were 28% less likely to develop alcohol or other drug problems or to wind up in jail or prison in adulthood, compared with kids who did not go to preschool. What’s more, their odds of being arrested for a felony were cut by 22% and they were 24% more likely to attend a four-year college. Incomes in adulthood of those who attended preschool were also higher than those for the children who did not.
Researchers emphasized, however, that it’s the quality of the preschool, not its mere existence, that is likely responsible for these remarkable findings.
“Just funding preschool doesn’t mean it’s going to be effective,” Arthur Reynolds, director of the Chicago Longitudinal Study, told Time. “You have to follow the principles of quality,” including consistent lessons in listening, math and reading preparation, and other school readiness techniques.
(image via: http://www.whyboysfail.com)
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