Nokyoung Xayasane
March 08, 2013

Mom Finds 7-Year-Old Daughter’s Diet List


Imagine finding a “diyet” list lying on the floor of your little sister’s room — a list mandating specific exercises to be done and foods (like “appals,” “keewee,” and “yoget”) that must be eaten.

One Australian mom discovered such a list handwritten by her seven-year-old daughter.

Repeat: The girl is seven years old.

“I felt sick. Physically ill. Like someone had knocked the air from my chest,” says mom Amy Cheney.

The list didn’t end there. The exercise portion recommended “pooshups,” “16 star jumps 2 times a day,” and “rid my bike 3 times a day.”

It would be cute if this was just a day planner outlining the normal activities of a young girl, but Cheney’s daughter says this was her “diyet” list, and explained that she had heard about dieting from her seven-year-old friend.

This type of peer influence is the norm for many young girls, says a study from Texas A & M. Negative body image is significantly influenced by peers rather than through “sexist” images presented by the media, adds the study.

There are even rare cases of girls reporting symptoms of anorexia as early as kindergarten. One such girl reportedly told her mother that she is always hungry.

“A voice in my head is telling me not to eat,” said the girl.

Not only are young girls being exposed to dieting through their friends and the media, but remember the Vogue story of the mom who put her seven-year-old daughter on a diet?

These stories are heartbreaking, but are not as uncommon as we think. I remember being strangely concerned about my weight as a young girl. I even convinced my parents to buy me diet shakes and “health” bars by the time I was in grade four.

What is the world coming to if girls who can’t even spell the word “diet” are already worrying about their weight?