Kim Kardashian (left) and Nikki Lund as kids (image via Nikki Lund/Rumorfix).
It’s no secret Kim Kardashian is conscious of her appearance.
The 34-year-old reality TV star famously uses apps to edit and enhance her Instagram snaps, has a beauty line in her family’s name, and regularly spruiks waist training as a means of keeping in shape. As a woman who is constantly in the public eye, and who has her every movement filmed and photographed, you can sort of understand this fixation.
However, it seems Kim’s hyper-awareness of her image began when she was just a kid; 13 years old, to be precise. One of Mrs Kardashian West’s childhood friends, Nikki Lund, recently claimed she and Kim began experimenting with popular crash diets in their early teen years.
"At 13, we started to become more aware of ourselves. We began wearing make-up and started dieting," the fashion designer, 32, told Heat magazine. "It was mostly the Atkins and the South Beach Diet. We did the Cabbage Soup Diet and we'd be there boiling great big vats of cabbage. We were like, 'Yes, we're going to be thin'."
Lund has also previously said Kim would ask for "a burger with no bun" to avoid taking in carbohydrates.
The thought of a 13-year-old taking dieting this seriously is sad and shocking but it's also "very common", according to clinical psychologist and director of Shape Your Mind, Dr Olivia Patrick. [post continues after gallery]
"It is becoming more and more common for primary school age children (and sometimes even younger) to be very concerned with their appearances, in particular a fear of being fat," Dr Patrick explains.
Mission Australia's annual national youth survey has found body image is one of the top three concerns among young Australians, and according to the Butterfly Foundation, previous research has found 75% of high schools girls feel “fat” and want to lose weight with 90% of 12-17 year old girls are on a diet.
There are several factors that can contribute to girls developing a hyper-awareness of their body and image.
Although well-intended, it seems Australia's ongoing campaigns to combat obesity — including the 'healthy lunchbox' movement in schools — have indirectly exacerbated this. "We have children as young as three asking their parents if they’re fat and need to go on a diet," the Butterfly Foundation's CEO Christine Morgan says.
"In the current climate of fear surrounding childhood obesity, parents are often paying a lot of attention to and commenting on their child’s weight," Dr Patrick adds.
Genetic vulnerability to depression or anxiety disorders can also play a role, as can parental behaviours; dieting or negative body attitude exhibited by mothers can have a bearing on how girls think of their own bodies.