Children and Body Image

WICHITA FALLS, TX - Newschannel 6 Samantha Forester is taking a closer look at a research brief by Common Sense Media about children, teens and body image.

Take a look at the company's findings here.

Body image is something that is beginning to be recognized by children at a pretty young age. 
    A research brief by Common Sense Media says studies have shown children as young as six indicate their ideal bodies are thinner than their current body.

"Kids are always comparing themselves to each other. What can you do, what can you not do. What do you look like, what do you not look like," Brandon Arnold, LPC said.

Another study shows by the time children hit the age of seven, on in four children have engaged in some kind of dieting behavior.

"Well everyone is trying to look thin and I mean it's all on Facebook," Robert Rodriguez of Wichita Falls said.

The brief sites that body image is learned and formed from many different sources. This includes individual factors, family environment, peer and societal and cultural factors.

Licensed Professional Counselor Brandon Arnold said parents also play a big part in their child's body image.

"It's not even so much what you directly communicate to your child as it is the messages you send to your child about yourself," Arnold said.

Arnold said when parents make negative things about themselves around their kids, it sends a stronger message to their children than what parents are actually telling them about themselves.

"I know when my daughter was growing up I tried not say negative things to her. I mean the words can stick with you for the rest of your life," Rodriguez said.

Arnold said when it comes to images your children may see in magazines, they need to know those images are edited to look perfect. They are not an accurate representation of what a person looks like  day to day. When children have this understanding they will put less pressure on themselves to attain perfection.

If a change or improvement needs to be made in a child's diet, Arnold said focusing on health over weight in the key. 
    Here's a closer look at the Children, Teens, Media and Body Image research brief.

Samantha Forester, Newschannel 6

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