Even 3-Year-Olds Want to Be Thin
Study suggests the desire to be skinny is internalized at a young age
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2010 11:57 AM CST
Even girls this young have an internalized desire to be thin, a new study suggests.   (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)

(Newser) – The desire to be thin can implant itself in girls as young as 3, a new study shows. Fifty-five girls between the ages of 3 and 5 were shown three figures, identical except that one was thin, one average, and one fat. When asked to associate positive and negative adjectives with each figure, the girls assigned an average of 3.1 negative and 1.2 positive words to the fat figures, but only 1.2 negative and 2.7 positive words to the thin ones.

The girls were also more likely to choose the thin figure when asked who they would want to play with or have as a best friend. And when it came time to play a board game, some of the girls were so reluctant to play as the fat character that they wouldn't even touch the figure when asked to switch—some even said things like, "I hate her, she has a fat stomach." The lead researcher tells LiveScience that a replication of the study in California had similar preliminary results.

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Showing 3 of 14 comments
Mr. Wonderful
Jan 8, 2011 8:21 AM CST
This article makes no sense, of course everyone wants to be thin! Who wants to be fat? Should 3 year olds want to aspire to be fat? But really to be honest, a 3 year old doesn't know the difference between fat and thin, who came up with this article and wasted good money on this "study". What nonsense. Next thing you know these people will try and tell us that they already know they are gay at 3 years old!
Anne McKenzie
Nov 21, 2010 3:16 AM CST
Nov 17, 2010 3:18 PM CST
I blame Disney channel. My extremely skinny 8 yr old daughter saw the skeleton figure of the girl on "Pair Of Kings" and said she needed to diet cuz she felt fat! :(