Author: Angela O’Connell
Publisher: Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Geographic Coverage: Ireland
Type of Resource: Report
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
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.