Rhea of Sunshine: body image issues are striking at a younger age


Morgan Kong

In this weekly column, Wingspan staff reporter Rhea Advani provides her take on a variety of topics.

Rhea Advani, Staff Reporter

The fact that I am taking all my classes online gives me a lot of extra time to be on social media, and just online in general. One of the things that I’ve seen blow up on the Internet since the pandemic started is health and fitness.

Obviously health and fitness has been on social media ever since social media became a thing. However, I have been seeing it way more in the last couple of months, and a lot of the controversy, informational, educational, useful, and non-useful stuff I have seen related to health and fitness has led me to one question: Should children and teens be heavily focused on their health?

Being healthy and focusing on your health are two different things. If you are “fit” or “in shape,” it doesn’t specifically mean that you’re healthy. Looks don’t tell the whole story. And if your body doesn’t fit society’s standard, you’re automatically stereotyped as someone who isn’t healthy. These stereotypes are the reason that many children starting at the ages of nine to ten have started to diet. 

We should all be somewhat concerned for our health and what we put into our bodies because it’s going to be with us until we die. Some basic examples of precautions are don’t smoke or eat ice cream for breakfast (at least not every day). But because of the rise of social media use for pretty much everybody, people are getting more and more concerned with their health at younger ages than usual.

A girl that I babysit, who also happens to be a close family friend, is 12 years old. She’s super nice, fun, athletic, has many different hobbies, and reminds me of myself when I was her age. She’s artsy and creative, and it came to my attention the other night that she skipped out on dinner when everyone else was eating. When I had asked why, she said that she wasn’t hungry.

I was shocked. I knew that she hadn’t eaten much during the day, and that there was no way she wasn’t hungry, especially for pizza. I told her that if she was trying to eat healthier she could have a salad instead of the pizza, but skipping meals was not okay.

This is just one example of how heavily society has caused people to look at their health lifestyles. Again, there is a difference between looking healthy and being healthy. Just because someone may not look like they have the perfect body, doesn’t mean they don’t eat right and exercise everyday. Also, kids at such young ages should not be so concerned with how their bodies look. 

Obviously, if you’re a child and not eating multiple bags of candy a day (except Halloween) you should just have fun and let go. It’s important for everyone to eat healthy and make sure they are exercising enough, and even if you aren’t a child and you feel insecure about how you look, remember that you’re beautiful!