Body image: Advice for supporting pupils
There is huge pressure on young people to conform to unrealistic body image, not least on social media. Yvonne Kekeliadis offers some tips for supporting young people to better understand social media and develop a positive relationship with their body image.
In August, the House of Common's Health and Social Care Committee (2022) published a report exploring the impact of body image on physical and mental health.
This follows the well-documented increasing levels of anxiety and general mental health problems in young people.
While the report explores a range of external factors that affect young people's physical and mental health, the committee has also rightly highlighted the mounting pressure for children and young people to conform to unrealistic body ideals, which is in part due to social media and online content.
As a result, young people and in particular young girls are facing increased insecurities which can manifest in a variety of mental health and wellbeing struggles, from low self-esteem to anxiety and eating disorders.
Among its recommendations, the report calls for the government to ‘initiate a comprehensive cross-government strategy to tackle the current growing problem of body dissatisfaction and its related health, educational and social consequences’.
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