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30 May 2012
Paul Sacher, a paediatric dietitian and co-founder of MEND, an organisation that provides free healthy lifestyle programmes for children aged 2-13 welcomes the parliamentary report's focus on how issues with body image can affect children's health:
"It's very worrying that girls as young as five are concerned about their weight and appearance. Children shouldn't be worried about their looks at such an early age and instead there needs to be a focus on how to grow up healthily rather than on their physical appearance. Too much of a focus on weight and dieting could lead unhealthy eating practices throughout life so we need to reverse these unhealthy perceptions of body image as early on in childhood as possible. The fact that almost half of girls and a third of boys aged 14 have been on a diet is also concerning as children are still growing at this age and weight loss and dieting is dangerous and can lead to stunted growth and nutrient deficiencies.
"At MEND, families learn about healthy eating and how to become more active in a fun and supportive environment. Children learn about the impact of unhealthy choices on their health and are supported to become more confident and lead fitter, happier, healthier lives."