Eating disorders are top concern for girls as young as 11

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Girls as young as 11 worry about eating disorders reports Girlguiding Scotland and two thirds of those up to age 21 know someone who has one

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19th February 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Body confidence issues are taking a toll on girls’ wellbeing a national youth organisation has reported.

Girlguiding Scotland says that eating disorders are now one of the top health concerns for girls aged 11 – 21, and that two in three girls know someone with an eating disorder.

The charity spoke out ahead of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which starts on Monday (22 February).

We’re here to help young women fight back against the damage caused by unrealistic beauty myths and realise their full potential in life

Girlguiding Scotland’s 2015 Girls’ Attitudes Survey also found that almost 40% of girls aged 11-21 have had a demeaning comment made to them about the way they look and the number of girls saying they think women are not portrayed fairly in the media has more than doubled since 2010 from 27% to 48%.

Girlguiding Scotland is calling for action to stop low body confidence taking such a toll.

Sue Walker, Girlguiding Scotland’s chief commissioner, said: “As Scotland’s leading charity for girls and young women it’s our mission to help them build their confidence through fun, adventure and friendship.

“We’re here to help young women fight back against the damage caused by unrealistic beauty myths and realise their full potential in life.”

The charity has launched the Free Being Me badge programme in partnership with Dove and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

It uses fun activities to encourage girls to celebrate their individuality and boost their confidence and also trains leaders and girls in its oldest age group to run workshops to help their peers beat the body myth and build body confidence.

Katie Horsburgh, 15, a Girlguiding Scotland member from Edinburgh, said: “As a teenage girl myself, I know how difficult it can be to be surrounded by images of women with unattainable ‘perfect’ bodies.

“We need to help girls learn that beauty comes from within and value them for their skills and personalities – not their looks.

“Girlguiding Scotland is for all girls and treats all girls equally - I can definitely say that guiding has helped me to see the ‘beauty myth’ for what it is and become more confident.”

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