MENU

BODY IMAGE IN TEENAGERS

Background

After talking to one of my family, friends, teachers, and other members of my community, I was able to identify a population of teenagers at my high school who suffer from body-image issues and eating disorders. At my high school (and in my community in general), the majority of the parents work in the entertainment industry. Additionally, living in Los Angeles, we are all constantly surrounded by the entertainment industry and the people surrounding it. Our city as a whole is largely made up of actors and models whose jobs are based on and determined by physical appearance. I think that almost anybody living in Los Angeles can agree that there is a lot of weight placed on physical appearance and a pressure to have the “perfect appearance”. However, as a result of this, a large population of teenagers at my high school struggle with body-image issues and eating disorders. 

http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo/article/improving-your-body-image

Research

Once I was able to identify this population of students within my community, I interviewed the counselor at my school to gain more information about body-image issues and eating disorders at my school and how it affects the lives of students at our school.

Are there any specific grades where you see that these body image issues become more prevalent?

Counselor: “Yes, 8th or 9th or 11th grade”

Are there any factors that are unique to our community that you believe contribute to this issue?

C: “Yes, I think that there is definitely an ‘LA body’ stereotype that puts a lot of pressure on the students at our school”

Do you think that these issues can affect a student’s education?

C: “Yes, very much. Often body insecurity can distract students from their education and cause them to be preoccupied in their thoughts”

Are more girls or boys effected by these issues?

C: “Most commonly girls are more affected by this issue however we do still see boys who are affected by this too.”J

Do students often come to you with body-image issues or are you mainly having to interfere and approach them and offer them help?

C: “Most often I am interfering and going to them to offer help.”

What are some basic indicators that a peer might be struggling with these issues?

C: “Some basic indicators are usually behavioral changes, obsession with food, when somebody is triggered when people talk about food or when people are eating around that person, etc.”

Are there any programs already in place at our school, that help students who are dealing with these issues?

C: “Currently we do not have any programs at our school that solely focus on body insecurity and eat disorders, however we do talk about it a little during advisory.”

http://safespaceuk.blogspot.com/2016/05/guest-post-bullying-in-workplace-by.html

UN Sustainable Development Goal #3

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

“Many more people today are living healthier lives than in the past decade. Nevertheless, people are still suffering needlessly from preventable diseases, and too many are dying prematurely. Overcoming disease and ill health will require concerted and sustained efforts, focusing on population groups and regions that have been neglected.”

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg3

As shown in the graphics below, body-image and self-esteem directly affect mental health and well-being:

An article that I recently read (by GirlsHealth.gov) talked about body image issues, specifically regarding teenagers. The article explained some of the factors that contribute to body insecurity (such as puberty). Additionally, the article also links body insecurity to lowering self-esteem which then can lead to depression (a topic we discussed in my positive-psychology course).

Action

After having done my research, I then decided to focus on the positive psychology concept of self-confidence. Often, body-image issues and eating disorders are caused by a lack of self-confidence, so I immediately knew I needed to incorporate this positive psychology concept into the model I was going to use to implement my project into my community. I asked myself,

I asked myself…

“How can I increase self-confidence on my high school campus?”

After hours of contemplation, I decided to make posters with body-positive and motivational sayings, phrases, and images on them. Then, I put these posters on the stall doors and mirrors of the bathrooms all around my high school campus. I felt as though this would encourage self-confidence and hopefully promote body-positivity on campus. Additionally, I felt as though this could hopefully start a conversation in my community about body-image issues and eating disorders. 

Some of the various posters I put around campus.

A couple of days later I overheard students talking about the posters in the bathroom and how they put a smile on their faces and gave them a must needed confidence boost.

Call To Action

Looking forward, I plan to continue to make a difference in my community by creating more campaigns, similar to the posters I made. By continuing my work in my community I hope to start even more conversations about body-image, eating disorders, and self-confidence.

On a larger scale, I hope that you (the viewer) can spread these messages of body-positivity and boost confidence in your own community. You could even make your own posters and put them around your own campus!! However, for now, I invite you to add to the Padlet below in order to spread positivity among everybody who views this page 🙂

Made with Padlet

Citations

“Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Mental Health.” Body Image, Self-Esteem and Mental Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2019.

“Goal 3 .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.” United Nations. United Nations, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2019.

“Guest Post: Bullying in the Workplace by Anonymous.” Guest Post: Bullying in the Workplace by Anonymous ~. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2019.

Having Body Image Issues. N.p., n.d. Web.Improving Your Body Image | SexInfo Online. N.p., n.d. Web.


Share this project
COMMENTS: 7
  1. April 26, 2019 by Lilly.Whitner

    Hi! This is a really well done page. I live right out side of Washington D.C., and I definitely agree that geographical location has an effect on body image and things like that. I also agree that self-confidence and other similar issues often result in body image / body dysmorphia. I spend a lot of time talking to my friends about this particular facet — body-dysmorphia — of body image. If you feel so compelled — you should look into it!! As for your page, I think you could have gone in a little deeper into the more medical side of eating disorders — the illness itself, the chemical component etc. This could have enhanced your project, but I still think you did a really good job; I particularly liked the interview you conducted. Also, I really liked the posters you made for your school. At my school, we put posters in the bathrooms that have similar inspiring quotes. There is a club at my school that handles the making and hanging of these posters — as well as various other body-positivity initiatives. The club is called the Embody Love club — which is tied to the national Embody Love Movement. You should take a look at their website! https://www.embodylovemovement.org/

    • April 26, 2019 by lauren silver

      Hi Lily! I’m so happy that you liked and connected to my page! This is an issue that my friends and I also discuss often and I love that you guys are also doing work on your campus to raise awareness and start a conversation. I appreciate your feedback. I, too, would have liked to go into more of the medial side of the eating disorders, however I was definitely time restricted. This topic is complex and has many factors, and I knew I would not be able to dive deep enough into the medical research and do it justice and provide well-rounded information about the medical side of the issue. If I had more time I would go more into the medical research and that aspect of this issue. Regardless, I hope that you and your friends keep up the good work on your campus and continue to advocate for these issues!

  2. April 27, 2019 by Heather Gadalla

    Hi Lauren! I found your project super interesting and very relevant to the audience (mostly teenage GOA students). I also really liked how you took the concept of self-confidence that you learned in your course and integrated it into your solution to the issue. We have posters like these at my school, and I have also heard students talk about how much they like them!

    • April 28, 2019 by Lauren Silver

      Hi Heather-
      I’m so glad you enjoyed my page, and I think it’s so amazing that you guys also have those posters at your school!

  3. April 27, 2019 by Jane

    Hey Lauren! I think you did an amazing job explaining the issue of negative body image, and I thought it was really interesting that you discussed how your community specifically has a very negative impact on body image. I loved the two different visuals of the differences between having positive vs. negative body image. Additionally, I really liked your solution of spreading encouraging messages around your campus and that your included that people were discussing these posters in a very positive light a couple of days later. I think it’s crazy to imagine how much different society would be if we all built each other up like the words on those posters do, instead of judging each other and building an unobtainable standard to be perfect. Kind words and encouragement really do go a long way!! Great work!!

    • April 28, 2019 by Lauren Silver

      Hi Jane! Thank you for the support, and I’m so happy my message was able to resonate with you!

  4. May 01, 2019 by Erika Homan

    Hi Lauren! This is a really valid and important topic. I am in the abnormal psychology class and we studied eating disorders which definitely relate to your ideas. I thought that the interview with your school counselor highlighted many important aspects of this issue such as how more girls are affected by it, how it distracts from education, etc. Also, I love the message you are sending about self-love and body positivity and the posters you made are super cute I’m sure they really meant a lot to people at your school.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.