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Editorial: Fixation with looks hurts our children

It is time for a long, hard look at our 'appearance is everything' culture. Young people, girls in particular, suffer increasingly from the pressures to conform to ideal body images promoted in modern Western society.

A report reveals found more than one in five girls aged 10 to 15 were unhappy with their appearance. More girls become unhappy with how they look as they get older.

This contrasted with "significantly happier" results found among Caribbean, Pakistani and African children. Parents are understandably concerned about undue pressures created by constant attention to the physical appearance of celebrities. Imbuing values such as self-esteem and concern for the welfare of others, rather than self-obsession, is increasingly important.

There is a need for more vigilance about careless remarks that can damage a young person's self-image. Encouragement and kindness can bolster a young person's happiness.