Children as young as 11 worry about their weight

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The Independent Online
The lives of schoolchildren are being blighted by worries about their appearance, according to a survey published today. Being fat, spotty or having bad teeth are what young people fear most.

A MORI poll of more than 4,000 children, aged between 11 and 16, found that one in four said they worried about being overweight and the same proportion said they were concerned about the appearance of their skin and teeth.

Twice as many girls as boys worried about being overweight - 45 per cent, compared with 21 per cent. Children who described their families as poor worried more about their weight than those who said their families were rich - 41 per cent, compared with 32 per cent. Worries about appearance increased as children got older. By the time they were aged 15 or 16, 38 per cent expressed concern about being overweight.

The survey was commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing to mark Nurses Day today, the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

Christine Hancock, the RCN general secretary, said: "It is all to easy to forget what it feels like to be young and insecure."