Standing in the school playground is no longer a time for play and excitement, but instead for gossip: the most current topic of conversation being fad diets, extreme workouts and beauty regimes. Gone are the days when curves were beauty, we now face a decaying generation of sticks and skeletons!

It’s no secret that being a size zero is every teenage girls dream, but is it really a healthy lifestyle for our young generation to aspire to? Well, it’s been the media who are constantly answering that question. With photo shopped images, workout regimes and starvation diets posted across our screens and magazines target at teenagers, is it really any wonder we’re in this situation?

Another thing which constantly baffles me is how we as teenagers and our parents are so oblivious to when these diets really become an issue. Anorexia and eating disorders have increased by 45% over the past 30 years, yet we still simply view them as a diet gone wrong, or even worse the way to become thin! We have to educate our generation and parents about the reality of these life threateningly mental health issues. Shockingly anorexia kills 1 in 5 sufferers, a number which is still on the rise and sickeningly being encouraged and advertised by the media. When was the last time you saw cancer being advertised? Exactly, it never is because people know that it is a serious illness on the increase, which can result in death. The question I then ask is why advertise anorexia?

It’s not just us girls who are affected by this dieting, body conscious beast. Over the past 5 years boys have also become more self-conscious about their appearance, so much so that some are joining gym’s as young as 11! Whilst it may be a whole different world of dieting for boys it’s having just as much of a negative impact on their health. Studies have shown that boys who start weight lifting or bulking too early can stunt their growth at a much earlier age than those who don’t. Men’s magazines used to advertise the latest gadgets or sports, but these are being swallowed up by the ever growing “body beast”. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other extreme body builders are who lots of young boys aspire to, but if you ask me (and probably the rest of this world) that kind of body is not going to get a girl.

We tear ourselves apart every day, simply because as of yet the new diet brainless Cheryl Cole has been on isn't working for us. News flash: try starving yourself! New studies have discovered that 1 in 10 diets end in starvation ones. Meanwhile, our every waking moments are spent fantasizing and obsessing about food and diets. As a teenager myself this not only stuns, but worries me too. We face the biggest exams of our lives at the end of year 11, but how are we to concentrate if we are running on empty?

Sadly the media machine won’t stop itself. But if we want to see a decline in these absurdities being excessively reported, dragging more innocent teens into its wrath, then we must ignore them. If the public loses interest then they will lose customers and simply will stop reporting.

Extreme dieting is nothing but misery, where we voluntarily lock ourselves into a prison of self-loathing and perpetual insecurity. End them now or they will end you!

Maya Carraro- Orleans Park School