How We See It: Report of a Survey on Young People’s Body Image

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How We See It: Report of a Survey on Young People’s Body Image

Published in 01st of October 2012


Author:  Angela O’Connell

Publisher: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Date: 2012

Geographic Coverage: Ireland

Type of Resource: Report

Sector/setting: Government

Vulnerable groups: Children, Young People

Developed with children and young people? Yes

Type of participation: Consultations With Children

Availability: Open Access

Keywords: Child, Participation, State Care, Voice, Young People

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There is a growing body of research in Western and developing cultures demonstrating that teenagers, and teenage girls in particular, are worried about body image, although earlier studies also indicated an increasing concern with body image among boys. Negative body image is associated with poorer mental well-being, eating disorders, self-harm, acceptance of plastic surgery, smoking, use of anabolic steroids and dieting aids, excessive exercise, becoming the target of teasing and bullying, and developing a lack of confidence in interpersonal relationships. Fear of being seen as gay or lesbian (homophobia) in defining both male and female bodies, and in policing behaviour, is also implicit in many of the studies.

The main recommendations made by the young people who completed the survey can be broadly grouped under four approaches:
• A Body Image Awareness campaign – to highlight the complex issues facing young people in relation to how they feel about their bodies.
• Personal Development programmes and education – to help young people to develop a more positive body image.
• Information that is made available and accessible to young people on issues such as healthy eating, eating disorders, obesity and anabolic steroids.
• Promoting sports and exercise – to make young people healthier.