A mother has spoken out and told of her horror after she found a diet and exercise regime in her seven-year-old daughter’s bedroom.
Amy Cheney, a mother of three, said she felt “physically ill” when she found her young daughters weight-loss plan “innocently sitting on the floor” of her bedroom with her other toys.
The “diyet” list features plans of what her daughter intends to do every day in order to lose weight. There are boxes next to each step on the list that she can tick once she’s done the task.
Ms Cheney, who is from Australia, said that she was shocked a seven-year-old would even know what a diet is, let alone understand it enough to create one.
“I found this in my daughter’s room. My daughter is seven. Diyet. Jesus. Where did she learn the word diet? How does she even know what a freaking diet is?” wrote Ms Cheney on the Australian lifestyle website Mama Mia.
“Whose fault is this? Is it mine because I let her play with Barbies? Because sometimes she’s allowed to watch Total Drama Action? Is it because when I draw with her I can only draw stick figures?” she added.
The “diyet” plan shows that the child is allowing herself to eat two “yoget,” three “appals,” one “per” and two “keewee froots” a day. This amounts to a measly 580 calories. According to health guidelines, a child aged between seven and ten needs around 1,740 calories a day in order to remain healthy.
The girl also writes that she has to complete a total of 34 “pooshups,” 32 star jumps, three bike rides and runs up and down the driveway three times a day.
Amy Cheney was left horrified when she discovered the list in her daughter’s room
“I felt sick. Physically ill. Like someone had knocked the air from my chest. I could feel myself getting increasingly anxious the more words I was able to interpret from her seven-year-old spelling,” said Ms Cheney.
After speaking to her daughter about the list, Ms Cheney discovered that a schoolfriend who was on a diet had told her daughter about them.
The worrying thing is that this story is not the only one. According to recent research, a growing number of young girls are becoming obsessed with their weight before they’ve even hit puberty.
In Ireland it is estimated that around 400,000 people suffer from eating disorders. There have even been cases of children as young as five showcasing the symptoms of an eating disorder and needing help.
For further information about eating disorders or to find help and support, you can contact BodyWhys (the Eating Disorder Association of Ireland) by clicking here.