Australia: poor body image rises along with children’s hormones

03 October 2018

Children as young as eight are vulnerable to poor body image as hormone levels rise with the onset of puberty, new research has found.

The University of Melbourne study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, was based on data from more than 1100 eight- to nine-year-olds.

Body dissatisfaction was measured by asking the children to choose from eight silhouettes of children ranging from very thin to very obese – first picking one that most looks like them now, then one they would most like to look like. Adrenal androgens (sex hormones) were measured through saliva.

Lead author Dr Elizabeth Hughes said the children were ‘vulnerable to poor body image’ – girls more than boys.

She added: ‘The higher the level of hormones, the more unhappy the children were with their body size.’

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