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They Say: Big Kids Think They're Skinny

weight-your-healthConventional wisdom states fat kids are uncomfortable in their skin. But new research is positing overweight kids – particularly girls – actually underestimate their weight.

To which we say, have you MET an overweight American girl?

Ah, there’s the rub – the study comes out of the UK, where we’re going to be moving our daughters stat. Because that kind of self esteem in the female kid contingent is the stuff of urban legends.

Published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood this month, the study is focused on almost four hundred kids, both male and female, ages seven through nine. Directed to match their body size to one of seven numbered images – varying in weight – they found the skinner children were more likely to rate themselves at a higher body weight.

The kids who were overweight, however, went in the opposite direction. They equated themselves with some of the smaller bodies, especially the girls.

As a mother of a girl, that sounds good to me. But as a recovering bulimic, it doesn’t sound like anything I ever encountered. Girls in my experience (although I knew a few boys with the problem as well) no matter their weight traditionally describe themselves as heavier than they are.

That the study focuses in on pre-adolescents, surmising they are essentially acting exactly opposite teen and adult women, is troubling to me as a mother because the question is: when does it switch? Based on sheer self esteem value, it seems these mis-perceptions have a positive end despite the fact that they are an underestimation. Sadly, the study doesn’t answer that question.

Are you surprised by the findings?

Image: sylvar via flickr

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