Ethics, Society, & Culture
Infographic for God Made Me In His Image

Infographic for God Made Me In His Image

In a society overflowing with negative messages about physical appearance and personal worth, children’s body image is an urgent issue. This is why we wrote God Made Me In His Image.

Parents get to encourage children to appreciate their bodies and come alongside them to address questions and shame they may experience as they absorb prevalent cultural messages about beauty and worth. Statistics regarding children and body issues are staggering and sad. Children are dealing with body-image distortion at an increasingly early age. Many young children are dieting or developing dangerous eating habits in pursuit of the culturally-prescribed “perfect” weight or shape. Additionally, many trends in our culture lead to hypersexualizing of children.

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Here are the statistics and citation related to the infographic:

  • Five-year-old girls whose mothers reported current or recent dieting were more than twice as likely to have ideas about dieting than girls whose mothers did not diet. A mother’s dieting behavior is a source of her daughter’s ideas, concepts, and beliefs surrounding dieting and body image.[1]
  • By age six, girls especially start to express concerns about their weight or shape.[2] Almost half of American children betweenfirst and third grade are worried about how much they weigh,[3] and half of nine- to ten-year-old girls are dieting.[4] Approximately 80 percent of all ten-year-old girls have dieted at least once in their lives.[5]Even among underweight to average-sized girls, over one-third report dieting.[6]
  • By the age of ten, around one-third of all girls and 22 percent of boys say how their bodies look is their number one worry.[7] Age ten is also the average age when children start dieting.[8] Girls have always shown greater concern about their weight and appearance, but there is a significant increase recently in boys also worrying. Boys want to be tall and muscular—and they worry about weight too. 
  • Childhood obesity has tripled since the 1980’s.[9]
  • Virtually every media form studied provides ample evidence of the sexualization of women and men, including television, music videos, music lyrics, movies, magazines, sports media, video games, the internet, and advertising. Children internalize this message.
  • Research shows that elementary school age is when children are at risk of developing a poor body-image. By helping to improve their body image at this stage and making them more aware of messages the media is putting out, parents and caregivers can better equip them to be confident about their bodies and their personal worth as children of God.

[1]. Beth A. Abramovitz and Leann L. Burch, “Five-year Old Girls’ Ideas About Dieting are Predicted by Their Mothers’ Dieting,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 100, no. 10 (October 2000): 1157–1163.

[2]. “What Are Eating Disorders?,” National Eating Disorders Association, accessed March 23, 2020,

[3]. Ibid.

[4]Rate of Eating Disorders in Kids Keeps Rising, US Department of Health and Human Services; Collins, M. E. (1991), “Body figure perceptions and preferences among pre-adolescent children,” International Journal of Eating Disorders, 10(2), 199-208.

[5]. Mellin, L., McNutt, S., Hu, Y., Schreiber, G. B., Crawford, P., Obarzanek, E., “A longitudinal study of the dietary practices of black and white girls 9 and 10 years old at enrollment: The NHLBI growth and health study,” Journal of Adolescent Health 20, no. 1(1997): 27–37.

[6]. J. Kevin Thompson and Linda Smolak, eds., Body image, eating disorders, and obesity in youth: Assessment, prevention, and treatment (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2009), 47–76.

[7]. Nicky Hutchinson and Chris Calland, Body Image in the Primary School: A Self-Esteem Approach to Building Body Confidence (England, UK: Routledge, 2019), 5–6.

[8]. Ibid.;

[9]. Jennifer Bishop, Rebecca Middendorf, Tori Babin, Wilma Tilson, Childhood Obesity, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, US Department of Health and Human Services, updated May 1, 2005,