Children Diet To Keep Off Pounds And Ward Off Bullying, Survey Says

Kids As Young As 7 Concerned About Their Weight, Diet

A recent survey of 1,500 of children between ages 7 and 18 revealed that young teens diet and worry about their weight.

About 44 percent of children between the ages of 11 and 13 say they've been bullied because of their weight, and more than 40 percent of kids younger than 10 admitted they were concerned about packing on the pounds, with nearly one-fourth reporting having been on a diet in the last year, according to the Press Association.

Results also highlight that a majority of participants are aware of several unhealthy weight-loss methods, such as using laxatives, throwing up, administering a regular diet and visiting anorexia websites.

The dieting survey was conducted by online companies Onepoll and Youngpoll for the television special "Dying to Be Thin: Tonight," which explored health topics such as eating disorders and children's attitudes toward food.

Sadly, dieting is among a variety of other extreme methods some adolescents are taking to avoid being tormented by their peers.

Last year, 13-year-old Nicolette Taylor resorted to plastic surgery to escape harassment and name-calling, particularly on social networking sites such as Facebook.

"All my friends could see [my nose], all my new friends, and I didn't want them saying things," Taylor told Nightline about her decision to get a nose job. "Gossip goes around, and it really hurts."

Although adolescents get picked on for a variety of reasons, weight is the top reason children are bullied at school, Yahoo! Shine reports.

And according to Rebecca Puhl, Director of Research at the Rudd Center for Food Policy at Yale University, a new ad campaign in Georgia is only "perpetua[ting] negative stereotypes."

The ads, which aim to curb childhood obesity rates, feature photos of overweight children accompanied by text, such as "WARNING: It's hard to be a little girl if you're not."

Campaign supporters say the ads educate parents with the harsh reality they need to become aware of the rising obesity rate among children, but others say the ads only shame children for their size.

"We need to fight obesity, not obese people," Marsha Davis, a childhood obesity prevention researcher, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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