London, April 20 : A new research has found that healthy eating schemes to tackle obesity are driving Brit school kids towards anorexia.
The research claims that efforts by schools to drum home a healthy eating message are making pupils acutely aware of their weight and inadvertently propelling some to potentially dangerous behaviour.
According to researchers, teachers were picking up the wrong messages from health professionals who were on an 'obesity crusade,' which is making it acceptable to mock and laugh at the overweight.
As part of the study, researchers conducted interviews with 40 girls aged between 11 and 18 who suffer from eating disorders were conducted.
The study, which went on for four years, revealed that many of them 'strongly believed that their illness was nurtured, exacerbated or sometimes even caused by the well-meaning action in schools'.
"The tales they told were incredibly revealing about what schools were doing, in good faith, that was propelling these girls towards this damaging relationship with food and exercise." the Telegraph quoted Prof John Evans, of Loughborough University, who led the research, as saying.
The researchers said that the problem is being fuelled by an increased focus on 'healthy living' in schools.
Launched in 1999, the National Healthy Schools Programme requires schools to provide visible evidence of healthy eating, physical activity and emotional wellbeing.
The target of govt is for all schools to be in the programme and for three-quarters to have achieved 'healthy school status' by next year.
Ministers published their anti-obesity plan in January, and have vowed to halt, by 2010, the year-on-year rise in obesity in under-11s.
According to Prof Evans, such targets drive some schools to weigh children in class.
It is being claimed that the pressure to monitor bodies led to fear in some girls about the effect certain foods would have.