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1 in 3 kids in Basildon think they are too fat
A THIRD of girls and boys in primary school in Basildon want to lose weight and worry about the way they look, a new survey has shown.
The report commissioned by Essex County Council has also revealed that 21 per cent of children aged from seven to 11 years old often feel sad and tearful and 20 per cent of pupils said they were worried about what people think about them.
It also revealed that 12 per cent of the children asked were worried about being fashionable and 11 per cent said they were worried about their diet.
Tony Ball, the leader of Basildon Council, said he was not shocked but “saddened” by the results of the survey which questioned 566 primary school children.
Mr Ball said: “Sadly it doesn’t surprise me what this survey has thrown up because it is things that we have known for a long time.
“In Basildon we have this poverty of aspiration and we as a community need to do everything we can to pull together to try and change it.
“The council has been trying to get into schools and raise aspirations by taking in business people and talking to the children about opportunities.
“In Basildon we have the highest number of young people who are not in education, training or employment and we need to make sure that these youngsters don’t become the next generation of this.”
Mr Ball said although cultures have changed over the years because media and television has a big influence on children’s lives.
Mr Ball added: “Despite all these changes kids still just need to be kids and should have time to be young and not worry about their weight.
“We as a council have concerns around the lack of aspirations that youngsters have and this has to change.
“We need to make sure that we are going into schools with businesses and joining up and doing as much as we can to raise aspirations.
“There are opportunities available in Basildon, we along with parents and teaches need to ensure the youngsters know they are there.”
A spokesman for Young Minds, a charity which gives advice and help to young people for on mental health and wellbeing issues, added: “Children feeling insecure about their bodies need to be helped to feel positive about who they are and what they look like.
“At an early stage it can start with not feeling negative about self-image and crash diets, but this can soon turn into much more complex eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia which can have traumatic effects throughout life.
“Much more needs to be done both at school and at home to offer children positive role models of all shapes and sizes. We need to help children to feel good about themselves and this should become an important part of their school and home life.
“Children today are growing up in a harsh environment with constant pressure to keep up with the latest consumer trends and look and act in a certain way. We have to take responsibility as a society for the pressures we put young people under.”
A spokesman for Essex County Council added: “The Health and Wellbeing Survey delivered by the Schools Health Education Unit collects information from a robust sample of children and young people across Essex about their lives.
“This information gives a great insight into the views of children and young people and helps us evaluate our services and concentrate on areas of improvement. We work actively with our partners to ensure that the Survey informs and improves our service provision.
“I think it is important to acknowledge that the survey reports a number of improvements over the last year including a decrease in pupils who feel afraid of bullying, the number of pupil who eat their five portions of fruit and vegetables each day improving, the number of secondary age pupils who smoke or drink regularly decreasing and the overall wellbeing of children and young people in Essex improving.”
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