A quarter of all seven-year-olds have admitted they have tried to lose weight by dieting. Intense body image pressure at such a young age is ‘damaging society’ warned MPs.

With the new generation feeling vulnerable, these MPs are proposing that calling someone ‘fatty’ should be deemed a hate crime.

The parliamentary report published today suggests self esteem is plummeting for the next generation of children and may lead to struggles with schoolwork and forming relationships.

The Government should consider “appearance-based discrimination’ on a legal par with race and sexual discrimination, the report suggests.

The Equalities Act 2010 makes it unlawful to harass, victimise or discriminate against anyone because of his or her race, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability.

The blueprint, Reflections on Body Image is ‘a review into the scale of the problem of appearance-based discrimination.’

Appearance is a growing source of bullying among children, and may lead to suicide and eating disorders.

Perhaps children are following their parents’ lead, as the trend in cosmetic surgery has increased nearly 20% since 2008. Advertising and ‘irresponsible’ marketing ploys are said to blame.

The MPs suggest patients who want to under the knife for surgeries like breast enlargements should have to undergo rigorous mental health checks before being allowed the procedures.

The report also calls for the NHS’s controversial weigh-in for children to be scrapped because it wrongly labels many youngsters as obese and could fuel bulling.

The MPs suggest instead of focusing on a child’s waist size, we should encourage children to live a healthy lifestyle and build friendships with other kids who appreciate who they are not what size they wear.

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