Scary Statistics

If these statistics aren’t alarming then I don’t know what is.  The fact that 45% of boys and girls in grades 3-6 want to be thinner just about kills me.  Since when did childhood include worrying about being skinny enough?  I saw this list over at Beauty Message, a wonderful site dedicated to self-love, and knew I had to share.  The great news is that we can all help change these statistics, but it has to start with us.  Do you love yourself?  Do you know that you are beautiful just as you right now? Does the thought of sending in a photo of yourself freak you out?  If it does, I encourage you to tell yourself you’re beautiful, find ways to treat yourself kindly, and start healing within.

  • 42% of first, second and third grade girls want to lose weight. Collins, M. “Body figure perception and preferences among preadolescent children.” International Journal of Eating Disorders 10 (1991), pp 199-208.
  • 45% of boys and girls in grades three through six want to be thinner; 37% have already dieted; 7% score in the eating disorder range on a test of children’s eating habits. Maloney, MJ, McGuire, J. Daniels, Sr., and Specker, B. “Dieting behavior and eating attitudes in children,” Pediatrics 84 (1989) pp 482-487.
  • 46% of nine- to eleven-year-olds say they are sometimes or very often on diets. Gustafson-Larson, A. M., and Terry, R. D., “Weight-related behaviors and concerns of fourth grade children.” Journal of the American Dietetic Assoc. 92 (7)(1992), pp 818-822.
  • 70% of normal weight girls in high school feel fat and are on a diet. Ferron, C. “Body Image in adolescence in cross-cultural research” Adolescence 32 (1997), pp. 735-745.
  • During puberty, most girls’ bodies need to gain, on average, 10 inches and 40-50 pounds, including more body fat. Friedman, Sandra Susan. When Girls Feel Fat: Helping Girls Through Adolescence. Firefly Books, 2000.
  • Females need 17% body fat in order to menstruate for the first time and 22% to have regular cycles. Cooke, Kaz. Real Gorgeous: The Truth About Body and Beauty. Norton, 1996.
  • Over half of the females age 18-25 studied would prefer to be run over by a truck than to be fat, and two-thirds would choose to be mean or stupid rather than fat. Gaesser, Glenn A., PhD. Big Fat Lies: The truth about your weight and your health. Gurze Books, 2001.
  • A survey of college students found that they would prefer to marry an embezzler, drug user, shoplifter, or blind person than someone who is fat. Gaesser, Glenn A., PhD. Big Fat Lies: The truth about your weight and your health. Gurze Books, 2001.
  • Up to 35% of normal dieters will progress to pathological dieting and, of those, 20 to 25% will progress to partial or full-blown eating disorders. Shisslak, C.M., Crago, M., and Estes, L.S., “The spectrum of eating disturbances,” Intl Journal of Eating Disorders 18 (3) (1995) pp. 209-219.
  • The death rate for eating disorders is 5 to 20%. American Psychiatric Association, “Practice Guidelines for Eating Disorders.” American Journal of Psychiatry, 150(2) (1993) pp. 212-228.
  • Americans spend $50 billion annually on diet products. Garner, David W., PhD, and Wooley, Susan C., PhD. “Confronting the Failure of Behavioral and Dietary Treatments for Obesity,” Clinical Psychological Review 11 (1991), pp. 729-780. $50 billion is more than the Gross National Product of more than half of all the nations in the world, including Ireland.

From the Council on Size & Weight Discrimination, website,


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4 thoughts on “Scary Statistics

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  3. I hate hearing these statistics and having people (kids!) think about “being fat.” It’s so scary that kids at young ages are dieting. People should start teaching kids at body image and why they should love their body not abuse it.

  4. Speaking from a teenage girl’s aspect, it’s all about guys and seeing other girls. When we see girls that are skinny and really pretty, We want to be just like them. When we see a really cute guy, we automatically think of a love story like The Notebook. All of my friends would agree with me that when we find a guy that you really like, you want to see him holding your hand. You don’t want to see him with a skinnier or prettier girl. You would do anything to have that guy. I’m on a diet right now, but I’m smart about it. I told my family and I consulted a doctor. Most girls aren’t like that. They think they can just shed the weight off. We just never think we’re pretty in the public eye during this modern day.

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