Even pre-schoolers fret about physical appearance

September 17th, 2008 - 3:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Sep 17 (IANS) A psychologist has warned parents and teachers about the potentially damaging messages they send pre-schoolers about their self-image. Marita McCabe, psychology professor at Deakin University, informed that a study has revealed how even four-year olds fretted about physical appearance, trying to conform to the ‘ideal’ shape.

The study of 53 children across four kindergartens revealed that four-year-old girls and boys were voicing concerns about their weight and muscles, respectively, reports Sciencealert.com.

“Even at this young age, mothers are already communicating different messages to boys and girls,” the study found. It is the first to focus on socio-cultural influences on body image among pre-schoolers, according to McCabe.

She said the development of eating disorders was one of the dangers of parents and teachers communicating messages about ‘ideal’ bodies to boys and girls.

“They do this by their attitude to their own bodies, and by suggesting to their daughter that they need to exercise more (to lose weight) and to their sons that they need to eat more (to increase their muscles).”

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