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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 12:14 GMT
Girls 'link weight to happiness'
hopscotch game
Girls in London were most likely to link looks and popularity
Girls as young as seven believe being slim and attractive will mean you are more happy, popular and successful, research suggests.

A study published by Girlguiding UK found girls associated being overweight with being bullied and sad.

However, girls polled said their families and friends made them feel happy and good about themselves.

The authors are calling for primary schools to teach children how the media airbrush photographs of stars.

Researchers spoke to seven to 10-year-old members of the Brownies in a series of focus groups on body image and self-esteem for the report, published by Girlguiding UK and eating disorders charity beat.

The Brownies said their biggest fear was being bullied: being singled out, feeling isolated or excluded and falling out with friends.

The report said the strongest defence against pressure over appearance was positive feedback from friends, parents and adults.

Girls in London were particularly likely to link looks to self-esteem.

Recommendations from the report include:

  • Building self-esteem
  • Don't make negative comments about appearance/weight
  • Reassure (looks are not important)
  • Listen and take concerns seriously
  • Focus on feelings, find out what's behind unhealthy eating
  • Bring experts into schools
  • Train all teachers and school nurses in self-esteem issues like eating disorders

The truth about obesity
22 Nov 07 |  Magazine
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19 Nov 07 |  Education
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05 Jun 07 |  Education

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