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Should Children As Young As EIGHT YEARS OLD Be Flexing In FITNESS MODEL Competitions?

  • The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) run a World Children’s Fitness Competition
  • This is run across seven separate divisions, including one for girls as young as five-years-old
  • The competition has been held in Novi Sad, Serbia for the past five years
  • Should children compete in physique competitions? Take part in our poll at the bottom
  • Post your thoughts onto our Facebook or Twitter.

Recently, Novi Sad in Serbia held the 2016 IFBB World Children Fitness Championship… This got us asking one simple question – is this okay?

IBFF Children championship

Once a year, Novi Sad is declared the 'world capital of Children Fitness,' as boys and girls as young as EIGHT-YEARS-OLD step onto the stage and flex.

The structure is exactly what happens in any adult physique competition – competitors flex for judges to mark them and declare a winner… Could something like this affect a child’s growth, or could it lead to something worse?

Held as part of the IFBB international amateur schedule, this competition is split into seven separate divisions:

  • Fitness Boys (up to 12 years)
  • Fitness Boys (13-15 years)
  • Fitness Girls (up to 7 years)
  • Fitness Girls (8-9 years)
  • Fitness Girls (10-11 years)
  • Fitness Girls (12-13 years)
  • Fitness Girls (14-15 years)

The Pros

On one side of this debate, it is preparing future generations for the competitive physique stage. As one IFBB representative wrote: “Sport quality and skills of children are so high that when they enter the older age divisions, there will be a real revolution in this sport.”

And this champions body confidence, health & fitness from a young age, potentially reducing bullying the likes of what our transformation star Simon Ducker witnessed as an overweight child.

IBFF Children championship

Winners are picked by a judging panel handing our scores over six rounds.

The Cons

When it comes to physique competitions, the pressure is seriously on – it’s a pursuit of perfection with incredibly high levels of stress. Now imagine that from the perspective of a child, and multiply that with parental pressure… Doesn’t seem that good, does it! Think of those reality TV programmes about children's beauty pageants and you'll get the picture.

IBFF Children championship

The IBFF claims having young boys and girls in fitness competitions will be a "real revolution in this sport."

And the flip side of the body confidence argument is one of lowering self-esteem everywhere. Already, we’re seeing British women’s lack of body confidence reaching a ‘critical level,’ but now we’re going to allow a completion to dictate what girls should like from eight-years-old?

Have Your Say

Should child competitions like this be allowed? This one question has split the office in two, so we’ve set up a poll to get the voice of the public. Shout out on our Facebook and Twitter too with your thoughts on this!


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