Number of Healthy-Weight Children Going on Diets Has Nearly Tripled in 2 Decades

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.

The number of normal-weight children going on diets has nearly tripled over the last two decades, according to new research. Simply put, researchers from the University of Oxford say healthy kids are shedding the pounds, already unhappy with their bodies during grade school.

The study finds slimming attempts among all youngsters are outpacing the rise in excess weight gain.

“There has also been a marked increase in the reported prevalence of eating disorders,” the researchers write in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The University of Oxford team analyzed 34,235 eight to 17-year-olds who took part in the annual Health Survey for England from 1997 to 2016. They found the proportion of healthy-weight youngsters trying to shed the pounds went from around one in 20 to almost one in seven.

“In England in 2015/2016, around one in five children aged 8–12 years old and one in three children aged 13–17 years old reported attempts to lose weight, including some children with a healthy weight,” the study authors write.

Slimming among children across the weight spectrum shot up. Prevalence was higher among older children and girls. The trend outpaced the rise in excess weight gain during the period and the provision of services to meet demand.

“It is of concern that the increase has not been matched by an increase in the provision of weight management services in England, creating a risk of unsupervised and potentially inappropriate weight control behaviors. Meanwhile, the rise in weight loss attempts among children with a healthy weight raises concerns and suggests greater attention is needed to target weight control messages appropriately,” the authors concluded.

Source: StudyFinds

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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