Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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February 7, 2014

Girls, you are beautiful

What message are you sending to the young, impressionable girls in your life?

Have you stopped to tell your daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin or the girl you baby sit or mentor that she is beautiful just the way she is?

Have you told her that you love everything about her – her intelligence, her heart and yes, her beauty?

If not, stop reading this right now and go tell her. I’m not kidding. She needs it, perhaps more than you know.

St. Mary’s College in South Bend released a report late last year taking a look at the state of young girls in Indiana. The report revealed that many high school girls have a distorted view of their body.

High school girls in Indiana were more likely to be overweight than U.S. high school girls in 2011. But the problems that exist aren’t as bad as the girls perceive them.

“In each grade, girls’ perceptions of their weight tended to be worse than it actually was,” the report said.

According to a 2011 survey, 42 percent of 10th-graders described themselves as overweight. Only 31 percent actually were.

In 2011, Indiana’s high school girls were more likely than all U.S. high school girls to take diet pills, powders or liquids, as well as vomit or take laxatives in order to lose weight or to keep from gaining weight, the report states.

What’s more, 17 percent admitted to not eating for 24 hours or more to lose weight or to prevent weight gain.

No girl should ever take such extreme measures or even feel the need to. But I get why they do. Being a girl is hard.

I had to stop weighing myself for a while because I couldn’t step on the scale without becoming obsessed with the numbers.

It took years for me to learn to love my body and its imperfections. Even now, though, the insecurities sometimes creep in.

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