According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. As a new study from the UK points out, body dissatisfaction, which contributes to eating disorders, can start at an alarmingly young age -- 8 years old.
The project monitored 6,000 kids from when they were 8 until they were 14. "When I started the study, I wouldn’t have thought so many boys and girls might be unhappy about their bodies at such a young age," Nadia Micali, a lead author on the study, told The Guardian.
This is a big deal, especially when we think about the relationship between self-esteem, body image and eating disorders. In fact, according to The Guardian, when the subjects reached age 14, "38.8% of the girls and 12.2% of the boys were involved in what the study calls eating disorder behaviors ... 7.5% of girls and 3.5% of boys were binge eaters."
Combatting body image issues starts with addressing the relationship between young people and the messages of perfection they receive from the media and even their own families.
"My impression is that girls and boys are growing up faster every year almost," Micali told The Guardian. "They are more mature and faced with issues they probably shouldn’t be faced with so early."
If you or someone you know is struggling with emotional health, visit HalfOfUs.com for resources and ways to get help.