Dying to Be Thin - Teens Struggle

6-23-04 - The battle to be thin has landed a popular teen idol in a rehabilitation center. Some say it sums up how teenage girls are getting the wrong message from Hollywood and magazines.

Sources close to Mary-Kate Olsen say she is suffering from anorexia. She is one half of the Olsen twins media empire, which includes videos and clothing aimed at adolescent and teenage girls.

But studies show young girls and teenagers are buying into not just the merchandise, but the perfect body image they see everywhere. 81% of 10 year olds admit they are afraid of being fat, while 42% of 1st through 3rd grade girls say they’d like to lose weight. Meanwhile, the role models they see don't match up with reality. The average woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 lbs, while the average model is 5’11” and weighs 117 lbs.

But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, only one out of 200 teenage girls suffered from severe anorexia last year. Although of that number, even more restrict what they eat everyday.

Local teens say they strive to look like the models they see, and often do so because of peer pressure. Experts say parents need to reinforce that the way their children look is the right way. But they warn that too much over protective parenting can also increase the changes.

For more information on eating disorders, click here