The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.
Mental health issues are a growing concern among young children and teens, according to a new national poll by a team at the University of Michigan. In fact, two in three parents say their child feels insecure about their appearance. One in three parents say their child has been bullied or made fun of because of their looks.
“Children begin forming opinions about their bodies and looks at a very young age,” says Susan Woolford, MD, MPH, a child obesity expert and pediatrician at the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Mott Poll co-director, in a university release. “These findings reinforce research that as kids receive unhealthy messages about societal ideals, it can lead to a poor self-image of themselves. Left unchecked, a preoccupation with appearance and body dissatisfaction may lead to decreased mental health and emotional well-being and increase risks for eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem.”
Feeling uncomfortable about looks and appearances can negatively impact an adolescent’s self-esteem and potentially breed body image issues. In the poll, one in five parents says their teenage children dislike taking pictures because they feel self-conscious.
The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll surveyed 1,653 parents with at least one child between the ages of eight and 18. Common reasons for these insecurities included weight issues, skin conditions such as acne, and dissatisfaction with their hair. Parents note that their children were less likely to feel awkward about their height or facial features. However, one in five parents of girls adds their child felt self-conscious about their breasts.
About a third of parents observed their children making negative comments about their looks. For parents with self-conscious children, one in three believe their appearance likely is impacting the child’s self-esteem. Another one in five parents think their child’s low self-confidence is hindering them from taking part in certain activities.