Body image can be further broken down into four categories:
Negative Body Image Characteristics
Positive Body Image Characteristics
Research reveals that a very high percentage of girls and women in our society are dissatisfied with their bodies (up to 80%). In comparison, about 40-60% of males are dissatisfied with their body shape. Folks with negative body image have a greater likelihood of developing an eating disorder. They are more likely to struggle with feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and more.
Our perception of body image develops in childhood and is affected by both past and current experiences. Some of the most common influences include cultural factors, experiences with other people, and physical changes.
Society and media can have a big impact on body image. We are confronted by unrealistic beauty ideals on a daily basis. The fashion, makeup, skincare, and diet industries work hard to make us believe that our bodies are unacceptable and need improvement.
Family members, friends, or significant others may pass on messages about your body through direct comments (e.g. telling you to lose weight) or through modeling (e.g. having a parent who complains about their appearance teaches their child that looks are something to worry about).
Being teased or criticized about your appearance can have a lasting effect on how you feel about your appearance. On the other hand, being complimented often on how you look can also cause one to believe appearance is the only thing people value. This can create more pressure to look a certain way.
During puberty, our bodies change a lot. It can feel weird, awkward, and gross at times. This can cause an intense focus on these changes and our physical appearance in general. Maturing early or late might contribute to feelings of insecurity or self-consciousness too.
Physical changes that contribute to feelings of insecurity (like weight gain or developing acne) can have a lasting impact on your body image. Studies show that people who had acne or were targeted for being overweight, didn’t experience an improvement in their body image even when their acne was treated or they lost weight.
Though this is not at all a full list of all the things we can do, here are 10 ways to start creating a healthy relationship with our body.
The Student Body: Promoting Health at Any Size
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All information on this site is intended to provide assistance and guidance but cannot replace the care of a medical professional.