A fitness blogger has been accused of promoting “damaging” body images in children after releasing workout videos aimed at kids as young as one.
Ashy Bines has acquired 901,000 followers on Instagram by posting swimsuit pictures showing off her toned body. Through her social media platform, Bines has built an Australian fitness empire. However, her newest venture, Ashy and Friends, is not receiving the same praise.
Ashy and Friends is a “fun packed music, fitness and education show for 1 to 6 year olds,” according to the website.
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The “highly interactive experience” uses animated characters to teach children how to eat healthy and exercise. The cartoons also teach kids about “geography, language, [and] music.”
Though Bines feels her program is “CRITICAL to inspire a love of health and fitness in our children,” others think the video series has gone “too far.”
Christine Morgan, CEO of The Butterfly Foundation, an organization supporting people affected by eating disorders and negative body image, told Mamamia she believes the DVDs are a bad idea.
“I think it’s a marketing ploy to adults and to parents who have been inundated with the messaging of: do not let your child get fat. In this time, when obesity is threatening, don’t let your child get fat. And since when did that translate into a toddler having to be so concerned about putting on weight? That to me is just taking it too far,” Morgan said.
“Even if they don’t understand it at the time, that subliminal messaging is going to go in, and all of the concerns about shape and size, at the earliest, earliest age, and the damage that can be done by that is just astounding,” she added.
In the interview, Morgan went on to argue that Bines’ program is trying to “put across a certain image” of body perfection and using the “word health to masquerade for weight management, weight loss, weight control.”
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The Ashy and Friends website does not mention weight loss for children, but does share obesity and activity statistics for children in Australia.
Not everyone is a critic, though. Personal trainer Benji Tiger told The Independent that kids exercising is a good thing.
“Children in today’s world are definitely under active with all the technology we have so readily accessible so cardio workouts such as jumping, running, skipping etc. are fun and safe ways for children to get the effective type of workout they need,” Tiger told The Independent.
“So, while they are still growing I think it’s a great idea for children to be working out, so long as it is the appropriate types of workouts,” she added.