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The exact age you start worrying about your weight – and how social media is to blame

TEENS’ weight worries peak at age 15 driven by social media, according to research.

Online bullying and photo feeds on smartphones are making youngsters extra self-conscious about their bodies.

Teenagers worry more about their weight when they spend more time on social media, scientist say

A study involving Leeds University found more than half of overweight girls – 56 per cent – admitted they were “extremely worried” about their weight at age 15.

This compared to 37 per cent of boys at the same age.

Figures show nine out of 10 kids are on social media by the age of 15, up from 60 per cent at age 11.

Data from 5,300 overweight children around the world showed woes were not as severe for younger or older teenagers as for 14 and 15-year-olds.

Study leader Professor Bassam Bin-Abbas, from King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Saudi Arabia, said: “We suspect social challenges such as cyberbullying could drive increased self-awareness and concern about weight among this age group. 

“Social media may also play a role, as its use is significantly higher and has been associated with body dissatisfaction.”

A third of children in the UK are overweight or obese, owing to less active lifestyles and junk food.

Experts say carrying extra flab can damage young people’s mental health.

Prof Bin-Abbas’ study, revealed at the International Congress on Obesity in Melbourne, found obese children regularly try to lose weight and believe it is their responsibility.

Two thirds of girls and half of boys said they had tried to slim down in the last year.

And 65 per cent believed it was up to them to shift the flab, not their parents.

Prof Bin-Abbas added: “Knowing that females are more worried about their weight than males – and more than half of them are very worried – indicates that they might need more support, particularly at this age.”

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