A new Australian study found that even very young children are trying to lose weight. Researchers at the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) examined more than 4,000 boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 11. At least two in five said they wanted a thinner-than-average physique. By the time the subjects were 10 or 11 years old, most of them said they had taken some action to control their weight.
"Restricting calories if you are overweight is a good thing," AIFS Director Darryl Higgins told the Special Broadcasting Service, an Australian news organization. "Restricting calories if you are under weight or normal weight is not such a good thing and can actually turn into problematic behaviors long term including eating disorders and other mental health consequences."
The social scientists found a possible link between children's attitudes toward their bodies and the ways in which their mothers related to food. Researchers at Harvard University had made similar conclusions after finishing a separate, previous study.
The Australian children who were unhappy with their bodies were reported as less physically healthy and having more socio-emotional problems. Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef founded Fairwinds Treatment Center 25 years ago with the belief that there is a strong connection between mental, emotional and psychological issues and eating disorders. At the time, too few treatment professionals shared this view.
Since then, Fairwinds has distinguished itself through its unique dual diagnosis plan, treating patients' eating disorders along with the underlying issues that cause them. Oftentimes these coexisting problems, such as anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder, have previously gone undiagnosed. Unfortunately, it is often impossible to recover from anorexia, bulimia or compulsive eating without also addressing the conditions that triggered or exacerbated the condition. Fairwinds' dual diagnosis system allows for complete and lasting recovery.