Where Has Childhood Gone? Eating Disorders in Kids Rises

December 08,2010
Lindsay Hutton( )

New data from the American Academy of Pediatrics has found that hospitalizations for children under 12 who suffer from eating disorders has skyrocketed 119 percent since 1999.

119 percent. How unbelieveably sad.

Any eating disorder is tragic, but it breaks my heart to think so much emphasis is put on image and a certain "look" that pre-pubescent girls are now starving themselves to fit the "ideal".

And they aren't even the youngest. Children as young as 3 years old have been known to comment on their weight, often saying something along the lines of "I'm fat" or "I'm not cute".

Children should be thinking about playing in the mud, coloring in coloring books, and how to raid the cookie jar that's kept on top of the fridge, out of their reach. They should be playing kickball in their neightborhood, and playing in their treehouses. They should be doing child-like things.

Their weight, in my opinion, should not be at the forefront of their minds.

But in reality, with new shows like Bridalplasty, now airing on E!, should we really be surprised?

Have you heard of it? Brides-to-be compete in challenges to try to earn plastic surgery procedures (think nose jobs, lipo, the works) to achieve their "dream look" for their wedding. From what I understand, their fiances aren't allowed to see them until the big day.

I'm curious to see if the winner's husband-to-be turns tail and runs in the opposite diirection when he catches a glimpse of his newly plastic wife.

I personally, find this appalling. It's like E! jumped on the low self-esteem bandwagon and turned it into a reality show.

And probably, somewhere out there, some 12 and under children are watching the show, thinking of all the flaws they see on their bodies and how they can fix them.

How do you feel about this? Do you think reality television (or television in general) is to blame for the body-image issues of today's youth? How do you shield your child from shows like this?