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Children such as Kristy, a 4th-grader, are at the forefront of a disturbing new trend affecting the health of U.S. children: dieting. Around the country, children as young as 6 are shedding pounds, afraid of being fat and increasingly being treated for eating disorders that threaten their health and growth.
With girls reaching puberty at younger ages, it has become natural for youngsters under age 10 to grow increasingly concerned about bodily changes and weight gain. Puberty is a time of rapid growth in a child's life. Girls and boys alike usually become curvier during this time. Females tend to gain weight on their hips, while males develop broad shoulders and backs. Therefore there is often an increase in overall body fat.
A study by Steven R Thomsen in the Internalizing the Impossible Journal says that U.S. girls are showing signs of puberty at a younger age. A common medical view is that less than 1 percent of girls under 8 enter puberty. The study based on current data from 17,000 children found pubescent development in 7 percent of white girls and 27 percent of black girls between 7 and 8 years old. Between ages 8 and 9, signs were evident in 15 percent of whites and 48 percent of blacks. This is one of the reasons for an increase in the number of adolescent children on diets and with eating disorders.
Another reason would be the increase of obesity in the United States. During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the US. In 1991, four states had obesity rates of 15–19 percent and no states had rates at or above 20 percent. In 2003, 15 states had obesity prevalence rates of 15–19 percent; 31 states had rates of 20–24 percent; and 4 states had rates more than 25 percent.
Not only are the obesity rates increasing, so is the knowledge of these statistics. More and more parents are putting their children on diets so they do not become a number in these statistics.
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"Child Dieting and eating disorders." 123HelpMe.com. 02 Apr 2020
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