(TELEGRAPH) — Rising numbers of girls are suffering mental health problems after coming under “sustained assault” from diet advertisements, alcohol marketing, fashion pressures and access to pornography, a leading psychologist has warned.

A “greedy corporate world” increasingly sees girls – particularly those in the pre-teen group – as soft targets to be exploited, it is claimed.

Steve Biddulph said girls were being forced to grow up too quickly and warned that parents had failed to protect them from external pressures.

In a new book, Raising Girls, he says that a “marked plunge in girls’ mental health” was first seen around five years ago.

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